Double the danger on some NSW roads
THE daily commute home may be more than twice as dangerous on regional roads as it is for our city counterparts, new statistics have revealed.
NRMA research released this week for National Road Safety Week found 90 people had died on regional roads across the state this year, two-thirds of NSW's road toll of 136. There has have been 11 more deaths than in the same period last year.
Detective Inspector Darren Jameson said although the Coffs-Clarence district had "not experienced any significant increases", the strong success rate of roadside alcohol and drug testing operations was "concerning in itself".
"On average, command issues approximately 200 legal actions per month for driving offences across the whole district," Insp Jameson said.
He said "only time" would tell the effectiveness of recently announced changes to drink and drug-driving penalties, with any driver who tested positive to a mobile drug test to lose their licence for 24 hours.
"The message has always been very simple. If you drink, don't drive, if you take drugs, don't drive," he said.
The alarming NRMA figures come just weeks after a spate of high-speed pursuits over the Easter long weekend. Multiple drivers were clocked at more than 200km/h and there was a fatal accident on the Gwydir Highway.
NRMA road safety expert Dimitra Vlahomitros said more than 70 per cent of country residents who lost their lives on the roads were killed just around the corner from home.
"There's a perception that it's the out-of-towners dying on unfamiliar country roads, but tragically it's not," she said.
"If you live in the country, you're four times more likely to die in a road crash than if you live in a metropolitan area."