An investment in road safety must be included in next week’s State Budget to reduce the State’s unacceptable road toll and the disproportionate number of people killed and seriously injured in regional WA.
RAC General Manager Corporate Affairs, Will Golsby, said it is critical the State Government honour its election commitments by funding the creation of a Regional Enforcement Unit within WA Police and a much-needed increase in the number of breath and drug tests per licensed driver.
"Western Australia has a serious road safety problem, and the situation is worse for those living in regional areas where 61 per cent of WA road deaths occurred last year, despite only 21 per cent of people living there,” he said.
“Funding for safer roads, cars and road users in the State Budget is critical if we are to address the escalating economic and social costs brought about by road trauma.
"Last year alone we lost 195 people on WA roads, which was the State’s worst road toll in eight years. According to the Road Safety Commission, the road toll has cost more than $2.8 billion over the past five years, in addition to the devastating emotional impact on family and friends.
“Increasing the perceived risk of detection can affect behaviour change – enforcement must be an absolute priority for the State Government in an effort to reduce road trauma.”
RAC’s key road safety priorities include:
- Allocation of all Road Trauma Trust Account (RTTA) funds, supported by cost benefit analysis and transparency about the projects funded;
- The development, funding and delivery of a road safety plan for regional WA;
- Funding to reduce the road maintenance backlog by 30 per cent in the first term of Government;
- Funding for a rolling program of road safety audits so every major regional road is audited at least every five years;
- Continue and expand Royalties for Regions investment to fund regional road improvements;
- Resource WA Police to test a minimum of 1.5 random breath tests per licensed driver per year and significantly increase the volume of random drug testing; and
- Fund the election commitment to create a Regional Enforcement Unit of WA Police to target factors contributing to the regional road toll.
The State Budget must also include an investment in regional roads to complement the Australian Government’s $44.2 million for regional WA road projects.
The safety of those in regional areas must be further ensured with funding allocated for the Bunbury-based RAC Rescue helicopter, managed by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services. Combined with the Perth-based helicopter, it provides vital search and rescue and critical care medical services to people 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
“The RAC Rescue helicopters are the State's only emergency rescue helicopter service, flying critical care paramedics to an emergency incident and then transporting patients directly to hospital,” Mr Golsby said.
“These helicopters are literally lifesavers.
“Having completed 741 missions in 2016, with 459 in response to a road crash, this service is critical in delivering patients to the care they need in the shortest time possible.”
Read the full RAC’s State Budget Submission 2017-18 online.