Does Tasmania have bad roads, or just bad drivers? It's a question many have asked in recent times, as our state continues to endure one of the highest death rates per head of the population, on our roads, in Australia. Last year was particularly bad.
At a time when nearly all states experienced a noticeable drop in road crashes, Tasmania did not. Rather, 36 people died and 284 were seriously injured on Tasmanian roads in 2020 (6.6 per 100,000 people).
Already this year, 10 people have died and more than 100 have been seriously injured on our roads. So the question remains - what is the cause, and how to to we prevent it?
In more recent years the focus has shifted to putting the onus back on the driver - a shared responsibility.
We have also seen promises of "record investments" from government, both state and federal, to upgrade roads across the state, with a particular focus on our major highways.
While investments in safer roads, incentives for safer cars and harsher penalties for those who break the law should be encouraged, if it's not matched by a personal responsibility then we may as well be driving blindfolded.
Nearly everyone has been impacted in one way or another by a fatal crash - whether directly or not. Every fatality has devastating and long-lasting impacts on families and communities.
And while every death is met with shock and sadness, complacency around road safety seems to continue. Sadly, the mantra of "she'll be right" or "it will never happen to me" seems to overshadow any consideration for care. Not for everyone, but for many.
People continue to speed, drive drunk or under the influence of illicit drugs. We look at our phones, don't wear seatbelts or fail to check blind spots.
Of course, some crashes occur as the result of unavoidable, tragic circumstances. But the reality is that most of the injuries and deaths on our roads are preventable.
Ensuring safety on our roads doesn't just sit with governments, councils and police. If you can't take responsibility for your own actions, then you have no right getting behind the wheel. This is a message for every day of the year - not just during Road Safety Week.