John Bowler

John Bowler

Former Minister for Local Government; Employment Protection; Racing and Gaming; Goldfields-Esperance and Great Southern

    WA's road toll highest in six years

    1/01/2007 9:56 AM

    Western Australia has recorded its highest number of road deaths since 2000 with 204 fatalities in 2006.

    In 2000, 212 people died on the State’s roads.

    Acting Police and Community Safety Minister John Bowler said today the 2006 figure was extremely disappointing, particularly after WA recorded 162 deaths in 2005, the lowest figure since records have been kept.

    Mr Bowler said 118 people died on regional roads and 86 on metropolitan roads last year.

    “It is particularly worrying that the 17 to 24 year age group had the most fatalities,” he said.

    “This group makes up nearly 30 per cent of all fatalities, but represent only 14 per cent of all licence holders.”

    The Minister said there had been a 36 per cent increase in the number of passengers killed last year, a 57 per cent increase in the number of pedestrians killed and a 30 per cent increase in the number of motorcyclists killed.

    “While the statistics are unacceptable and frustrating, they need to be looked at in context with what is happening in WA,” he said.

    “WA is booming with more than 40,000 people moving here in the last year, vehicle registrations are up by 120,000 on the previous year and motorcycle registrations are up by 10,000.”

    Mr Bowler said that until last year’s gloomy figures, WA had seen a 25 per cent reduction in road fatalities since 2000, the biggest reduction of any jurisdiction.

    “While 204 deaths are 204 too many, the number of fatalities is still an improvement on the 1996 figure of 247, the 1998 figure of 223 and the 218 deaths recorded in 1999,” he said.

    The Minister said the Road Safety Strategy for WA 2003-2007, put together with input from police, engineers and experts from Monash University’s Accident Research Centre, was taking the State in the right direction.

    “The introduction of 50 km/h speed limits, double demerits on holiday weekends, bans on hand held mobile phones, graduated licensing, enhanced enforcement and a record increase in funding of $107million over four years have all contributed,” he said.

    “Other initiatives, such as the Road Aware Program in schools, are an investment in our youth and their future.

    “The Government is constantly looking for new solutions but you cannot solve the problems overnight. It took more than 25 years to convince the community about the dangers of drinking and driving. We are now trying to get the same message across about speeding.”

    Mr Bowler said this year, the State Government was introducing:
    • new safety measures for novice drivers, including bans on peer passengers and night-time driving for the first six months, zero blood alcohol and a graduated demerit point system. It was also encouraging learner drivers to do at least 120 hours of supervised driving before trying for their licences because this had proved effective overseas and reduced crash risk by 40 per cent;
    • random roadside drug testing; and
    • measures to deal with repeat drink drivers, including alcohol interlocks.
    The Minister said road safety was a partnership between the Government and the community.

    “It relies on all road users complying with speed limits, not drinking and driving, wearing seat belts, paying attention and not driving tired,” he said.

    Increases to many road traffic penalties, including increased demerit points, came into force today to encourage compliance with the road rules.

    Mr Bowler said common courtesy and consideration also had a part to play.

    Minister's office - 9222 9211