RAC calls on politicians to action road safety improvements in Wheatbelt as road toll climbs

RAC calls on politicians to action road safety improvements in Wheatbelt as road toll climbs

WITH more than $141 million unspent in the Road Trauma Trust account, a leading road safety group is calling on local politicians to action road safety improvements in the Wheatbelt.

RAC general manager corporate affairs Will Golsby said 11 people have died on Wheatbelt roads so far this year.

“In 2015, the Wheatbelt road fatality rate was six times the Perth metropolitan rate, four times the state rate and well above nearby regions,” Mr Golsby said.

“This year, we have almost reached last year’s fatality record and we’re only in May. Something urgently needs to be done to stop the devastating impact that road trauma is having on the community.”

RAC is urging the State Government to commit funding and establish timeframes following the recent release of the Wheatbelt Highway Safety Review, 14 months after it was proposed.

“We are pleased to see that $3.8 million has been confirmed for road safety improvements on Toodyay Road,” Mr Golsby said.

“It’s great to see the review includes recommendations to provide more community education programs, but there is no mention of increased enforcement in the region.

“A serious approach to improving the region’s road safety record has to encompass evaluation, road engineering, road safety education and law enforcement,” he said.

An alarming number of road fatalities and serious injuries on Wheatbelt roads were identified in the 2014 Risky Roads campaign, including Bruce Rock-Merredin Road, parts of Great Northern Highway and Toodyay Road.

Toodyay Road from Red Hill to Toodyay was the fourth most nominated risky road in the state.

The road has had 181 crashes, resulting in 10 fatalities and 59 hospital or medical treatments since 2010.

Single vehicle runs-offs are the dominant type of crash in the region; more than half of all fatal crashes between 2007 and 2012 were regional drivers running off the road and did not involve a second car.

“Urgent funding for regional road run-off sections is needed, with none allocated past this financial year,” Mr Golsby said.

“There has also been a reduction of road maintenance funding across the state.”

The RAC last month launched the next stage of its five-year campaign – #ItsMyElephant – encouraging the community to change the Wheatbelt’s unacceptable road safety record by sharing, supporting and implementing road safety initiatives.

“Everyone – individuals, communities and the Government – has a role to play in addressing the Wheatbelt’s road safety record,” Mr Golsby said.