Drivers are taking risks on rural roads because they're either less likely to get caught or perceive there to be fewer dangers, according to a new study.
As part of rural road safety month during August, the Australian Road Safety Foundation has released findings of a study into the attitude of drivers.
"The research has told us that NSW drivers are taking risks on rural roads because they're either less likely to get caught or perceive there to be fewer dangers," foundation chief executive officer Russell White said.
"We will continue to see a significant and unnecessary loss of life on regional roads until we make a collective effort to shift this mentality so that safety is front of mind for all road users."
The findings of the study come as no surprise to former highway patrol officer Paul Dawson.
Mr Dawson, who is now a driving instructor, believes mobile phones and other distractions have only added to the traditional risk factors associated with driving, like speeding, alcohol, drugs and fatigue.
"We've got so much distraction with mobile phones any everything else on the road," he said.
"There is a lot of equipment in cars now that distract us. It actually removes us from what we're supposed to be doing, which is concentrating on the car and our environment.
"Cars are very smooth now. We don't get a lot of feedback from the road, therefore we're sailing along. We're a bit disconnected from our environment.
"Modern cars are a lot faster, we're travelling a lot more miles. I think it's nothing for us in the country to travel long distances."
Mr Dawson believes speed, fatigue and drink or drug driving remain significant risk factors.
He believes a high number of fatal accidents can still be attributed to speeding.
"We're still killing a person a day on the road and we shouldn't be. We should be getting that road toll way down," Mr Dawson said.
"Police are getting the message out there more, but people just aren't adhering to it."
So far in 2019, 231 people have died on NSW roads. At the same time in 2018, the toll was lower at 213.
Of the 231 people killed in 2019, 151 one of them died on country roads.
According to the Australian Road Safety Foundation, rural residents are more likely than metropolitan drivers to engage in dangerous behaviour on rural roads.
Rural drivers overtook their city counterparts when it came to speeding, driving while fatigued and driving under the influence, with one in three rural drivers have driven under the influence of drugs or alcohol, compared to 22 per cent of metro drivers.
"Despite making up only 16.5 per cent of the nation's population, regional road deaths account for a staggering two in every three of the national toll. Since this same time last year, NSW has seen a 10 per cent increase in rural casualties," Mr White said.