Be safe on Tasmanian roads this Christmas and New Year

TAKE CARE: Don't rush to get to your destination, or get through your to-do list. It's more important that you arrive late than not at all. Photo: Shutterstock
TAKE CARE: Don't rush to get to your destination, or get through your to-do list. It's more important that you arrive late than not at all. Photo: Shutterstock

There's news no one wants: the death of a family member in a road crash.

Police knock on bereaved families' doors to give the heart-breaking information, Road Safety Advisory Council chair Garry Bailey said.

"By the end of last year's Christmas/New Year break, five families had been visited by police and told their loved one had been killed. Nineteen people were seriously injured.

"The break is the start of the summer holidays when the risk on the roads is higher than any other time of year.

"There are more vehicles on the road, many driven by tourists unfamiliar with our state. People will be rushing to get their tasks done or to get to their holiday destination," Mr Bailey said.

This is the time for year for getting together with friends and family to celebrate.

"One of the major causes of fatal and serious injury road crashes is inattention and distraction," Mr Bailey said.

"Mobile phones are a major distraction which is why the Road Safety Advisory Council's latest campaign (https://www.rsac.tas.gov.au/campaign/dont-drive-blind/) says you are effectively driving with your eyes closed if you use your phone while driving.

"Leave your phone alone."

Police will be enforcing the road rules, including mobile phone use, because they want everyone to get home safely.

They could be anywhere, anytime in any vehicle, including unmarked cars and motorcycles.

"An average of 36 Tasmanians are killed on the roads each year and 270 are injured but if we all drive safely, we will reduce the chances of death and injury," he said.

"We should not accept any road death or serious injury as normal and something we cannot do anything about.

"The drivers most at risk are those in their first year of driving which is why it is so important to have as many supervised driving hours as possible.

"More practice, in more conditions more often provides valuable experience that will help protect drivers in their first year.

"If you have a learner in your family, give them as many opportunities to drive as you can. Summer and holidays is an opportunity to add to those driving hours and that all-important driving experience.

"When there is a road-side emergency our dedicated rescue workers will be there doing all they can to save lives.

"All road users have an obligation to protect their lives which is why there is a new road rule to slow to 40km/h or less when you see stationary red, blue or magenta lights flashing.

"Slow safely, look in your mirror before gradually reducing your speed.

"Other roadside workers will be working during summer building better and safer roads. Roadwork speed limits vary and they are there to keep roadside worker safe.

"Your speed is roadworkers' safety, so don't go above the posted limits.

"If we all make smart choices, we will increases the chances of a fatality-free Christmas/New Year.

"And that means families won't have to receive the news no one wants."

The Tasmanian Government is investing more than $75 million in road safety improvements, through the Towards Zero Action Plan 2020-2024 targeting Tasmania's highest risk areas and aims to achieve the greatest possible reductions in serious injuries and deaths as a result of road trauma.

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