NSW government campaign Saving Lives on Country Roads drives home a vital message

SAVING COUNTRY LIVES: Sam Bailey, NSW deputy premier John Barilaro, roads minister Melinda Pavey and Centre for Road Safety director Bernard Carlon.
SAVING COUNTRY LIVES: Sam Bailey, NSW deputy premier John Barilaro, roads minister Melinda Pavey and Centre for Road Safety director Bernard Carlon.

The state government launched a new road safety campaign on Monday, putting the spotlight squarely on country roads. 

Saving Lives On Country Roads is the first country specific educational campaign the NSW government has run, launching in Queanbeyan on Monday.

Minister for Transport Melinda Pavey said harrowing statistics point to the need to target complacency in country drivers. 

“Last year we lost 252 people on country roads. That’s one third of our population making up two thirds of our road toll,” Mrs Pavey said.

“They aren’t just numbers they’re our friends, families, colleagues, we all have too many stories of people lost- please be safe, no excuses.” 

The Riverina is no exception, From 2012-2016 there were 13 fatal crashes in Wagga, and 292 serious injuries. 

Tragically, 18 people have lost their lives on Riverina roads this year alone, double last year’s road toll. 

The ministers foregrounded the timeliness of the campaign, launching just before the busy Christmas period. 

Wagga Detective Inspector Darren Cloake said the same issues repeat themselves on the roads in holiday periods. 

“It’s normally drugs and alcohol, fatigue and speed, they’re the four main areas where we concentrate on,” he said. 

“Drivers should also be wary of unsecured loads on caravans and trailers, keep rego up to speed and vehicles well-maintained. 

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the campaign will be emotive and powerful, using the stories of real crash victims from the bush to send a strong message.  

“This campaign is about getting the message out to country people that it’s not tourists or people from the city crashing and dying on their roads, it’s them – the locals,” Mr Barilaro said.

“If you live in the country you are four times more likely to die in a road crash than if you live in a metropolitan area. It’s simply unacceptable.” 

The state will join arms with local councils, community groups and local industries to help spread the message.