LETTER: Rural Victorians need to be safer on roads

The Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF) is imploring regional Victorian drivers to choose road safety, with admissions of risky road behaviour significantly higher amongs rural road users compared to city drivers.

Despite road trauma being the number one killer of children aged 14 and under, and the second highest killer of young people aged 

under 24, new research has put the spotlight on the dangerous behaviours of regional drivers and the need for further education.

In the lead up to Fatality Free Friday (May 31), the research reveals that not even having children in the car is a deterrent for the region’s drivers taking risks on the road.

Worryingly, almost half (45 per cent) of regional Victorian parents admit to breaking road laws or undertaking risky behaviour when their own children are in the car, compared to just one quarter (26 per cent) of Melbourne drivers.

Added to this, one in 10 of the region’s parents admit to taking the same risks when driving a vehicle occupied by someone else’s children.

What’s more, one third of regional Victorian drivers admit to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, while one in four admit to speeding on a regular basis.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, with risky road behaviour, for parents and non-parents alike, continuing to climb when driving solo – no matter who was waiting for them at home.

While parents are most guilty of bad behaviour with children in the car, the majority of rural drivers seem to believe it is acceptable to take even greater risks if it’s just themselves in the car.

It’s imperative we stamp out the idea that it’s just drivers who suffer the consequences of road risk taking.

Russell White, 

ARSF chief executive

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