159 people were killed on WA roads in 2018. Driver behaviour was a factor in 62 per cent of fatal crashes.
Road user behaviour, including speeding, drink and drug driving, and distraction, all increase the risk of road trauma. All road users have a duty to behave both responsibly and legally, so we all get home safely.
Speeding (or driving at a speed inappropriate for the road conditions) is the leading behavioural factor contributing to fatal crashes on WA roads, which is why RAC advocates for safe speed limits which are appropriately enforced.
Many drivers believe driving a few kilometres over the speed limit is socially acceptable, however increasing your speed, even by just a few kilometres an hour, increases breaking distance and significantly increases the risk of a crash, serious injury and/or death.
Inattention is now one of the leading behavioural causes of death and serious injury on our roads. Inattention may occur for many reasons, such as fatigue, stress, incoming text messages or passenger distraction. A 2018 RAC survey found that 80 per cent of WA motorists use their phone behind the wheel, despite 90 per cent admitting it was dangerous to do so.
To help combat the growing distraction epidemic on our roads, RAC launched the Look Up campaign, which encourages drivers to focus on what's most important; getting to their destination safely.
Alcohol and drugs
Any substance that reduces a person’s driving ability and their capacity to make sound decisions is a problem for road safety and places all road users at risk.
Alcohol and drugs affect decision-making, reaction times, speed and distance judgements. They also impact concentration, balance and alertness and can give drivers a false sense of confidence, which encourages risk taking.
Fatigue is a silent killer. Driving tired slows down your reaction time and decreases your alertness.
The reaction time of a driver who has been awake for 17 to 19 hours is similar to that of a driver with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05. If you're too tired to drive, don't drive. If you can safely share the responsibility, plan breaks every two hours and switch drivers throughout your trip.
RAC's position on safe drivers
- The speeding offence for not more than 9km/h, should result in the loss of demerit points to reflect the seriousness of the offence.
- Motorists who exceed the speed limit should receive notification of the offence in a timely manner.
- Speed limits must be clearly displayed on all roads, with signage at regular intervals and at appropriate locations to avoid uncertainty.
- Speed limits should be rigorously enforced to ensure compliance and the safety of all road users. Speed enforcement requires a range of strategies including fixed and mobile, overt and covert, as well as dual red light speed cameras and point to point technology.
- Repeat offenders should face stronger penalties.
- Speed cameras should be placed in areas with an identified road safety problem, high pedestrian activity or a history of speeding behaviour. Cameras should not be positioned to maximise revenue.
- All revenue from speed and red light cameras infringements should continue to be re-invested into programs and initiatives to improve road safety outcomes.
- New technologies should be introduced which can minimise or prevent devices from distracting a driver.
- Enforcement by WA Police to deter mobile phone use while driving should be increased.
- Stronger penalties should apply for repeat offenders.
Drink and Drug Driving
- Government should fund regular high-profile community awareness activities and school education programs about the dangers of drink and drug driving.
- WA Police should be adequately resourced to undertake continuous, high-profile drink and drug driving enforcement activities.
- Penalties should reflect the seriousness of the offence with stronger penalties for repeat offenders.
RAC calls on the State Government to:
- Publish the number of hours spent on traffic enforcement by the WA Police Force on a quarterly basis.
- Adequately resource the WA Police Force to test a minimum of 1.5 random breath tests per licensed driver per year.
- Adequately resource the WA Police Force to significantly increase the volume of random drug testing.
- Continue to fund the expansion of the red light and speed camera program.
- Fund and urgently expand the implementation of point-to-point cameras.
- Establish and continue to fund the Regional Enforcement Unit of the WA Police Force to target factors contributing to the disproportionate regional road toll.
- Fund regular high-profile community awareness campaigns and school programs on road safety.
- Continue to provide funding for additional rest stops and roadside amenities.
RAC's position on safe road users
RAC advocates for all Western Australians, whether they are a driver, passenger, cyclist, motorcyclist, pedestrian or public transport user.
These documents outline our public policy positions, and what we are calling on from the State and Federal Governments to support better mobility for Western Australians.