Eric Charlton

Eric Charlton

Former Minister for Transport

    Call for major behavioural change in some country drivers

    26/06/1998 12:00 AM



    Transport Minister Eric Charlton has called for a major behavioural change in those country drivers who, he said, are unnecessarily putting themselves at risk when using Western Australia's regional road network.


    "More than three-quarters of all vehicle crashes on country roads involve country people," Mr Charlton said.


    "But even more frightening is the fact that around 85 per cent of people killed and injured on country roads were involved in crashes in their local region.


    "It seems that some people from the regions believe the road rules do not apply to them or that they are immune from road crashes, even if they do break the rules.


    "The figures show that is not the case. A moment of lost concentration is resulting in tragedy. It is as simple as that.


    "Those road rules are there for a specific reason - to save people from being killed and seriously injured.


    "Excess speed, drink driving, a failure to wear seat belts, gambling with fatigue and not driving with due care on dangerous roads, such as gravel tracks, are all factors in the disproportionately high country road toll."


    Mr Charlton said the Road Safety Priorities Calendar for July to December 1998, featured the regional areas of the State to indicate that the road safety campaigns over the next six months would focus specially on the regions.


    Those campaigns would concentrate on speed, cycling safety, pedestrian and motor cycle safety, driver fatigue and drink driving.


    Mr Charlton said a campaign designed to encourage country people to wear seat belts was already under way.


    "More than half of vehicle drivers and passengers killed and some 20 per cent of those seriously injured in regional road crashes in 1997 were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash," he said.


    "The current campaign hopes to change the attitudes of country people to wearing seat belts, especially young males."


    Mr Charlton said Transport's Office of Road Safety had also arranged a series of Regional Road Safety Forums, with the aim of enlisting the knowledge and experience of people living and working in rural areas to develop specific road safety action plans for each region.


    Media contact: Doug Cunningham (08) 9321 7333