Tasmanian crash statistics cause concern

CONCERN: So far in 2018, there have been seven fatalities on Tasmanian roads – two involving motorcycles.
CONCERN: So far in 2018, there have been seven fatalities on Tasmanian roads – two involving motorcycles.

Is the delay of a few minutes worth a human life?

This is the question being asked by the Tasmanian Road Safety Advisory Council. 

So far in 2018, there have been seven fatalities on Tasmanian roads – two involving motorcycles.

The number is an increase of five fatalities from the same time last year.

RSAC chair Garry Bailey said the trends are a major cause for concern.  

“There is far too much complacency on Tasmanian roads and speed is still the major cause of death and serious injury,” he said.

“Our research on driver behavior shows the majority of Tasmanians still think it is okay to travel above the speed limit.

“Last year we had 36 deaths on Tasmanian roads. 

“Is that an acceptable number of deaths for Tasmanians to get from point A to B?

“There is only one answer to that – no it’s not.”

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As of February 1, there have been 23 serious injuries on Tasmanian roads, five less than the same time last year. 

However Mr Bailey said the long-term trend for serious injuries had plateaued in the past five years. 

“The reality is this number has been stagnant for a while,” he said. 

“It is not going down and we need to start asking why.

“You are more likely to survive a crash if you are in a five-star rated car.

“But you are still more likely to be seriously injured if you are speeding. 

“These injuries can be lifelong and catastrophic – now that is a lot of Tasmanian lives that are blighted.

“Drivers need to be more patient and far more cautious and realise that a delay of a few minutes is never worth a human life or a serious injury.” 

Motorcyclists continue to be over-represented in crash statistics, with 11 motorcycle fatalities in 2017 and 74 serious injuries. 

With more vehicles on the road than ever before, Mr Bailey said drivers needed to change their attitude when it comes to road safety. 

“We can talk about fixing Tasmanian roads, but the reality is that could take decades,” he said.

“Drivers can change their behaviour on the road now. 

“As of December 31, Tasmania had 611,145 registered vehicles and 386,587 licensed drivers. 

“That is a lot of cars and a lot of people needing to act responsibly on the roads.”

In December, The Examiner launched its road safety campaign, In Your Hands. The campaign aims to highlight the impact of road tragedy on victims, their families and the wider community.