Regional road toll prompts call to action

The State Government is being urged to expand the successful Regional Run-Off-Road Crashes Program in the face of WA’s alarming regional road toll.

The Industry Road Safety Alliance South West made the call when lamenting that 116 had been killed on WA’s regional roads so far this year (to 19 Dec), 33 more than at the same time last year.

Alliance chairman Simon Dent said run-off-road crashes were the largest single crash problem on roads in regional WA, accounting for 60% of all death and serious injuries between 2008-2012.

He said the Regional Run-Off-Road Crashes Program, introduced in 2012, aimed to reduce that risk by funding treatments such as audible edge lining, shoulder widening, barriers and clearing. Up until 2014-15, this had been done across nearly 1,000km of high-risk roads.

A recently completed Curtin Monash Accident Research Centre-led assessment of the program found that were treatments had been conducted, there had been a 35.5% reduction in all run-of-road crashes and a 25.6% reduction in run-off-road crashes causing death or serious injury.

“It is clear this program is working,” Mr Dent said. “But the sad reality is it is only available for about 12% of the State’s regional roads, which are the roads managed and maintained by Main Roads WA. Extending this program to the other 88% of the State’s regional roads managed and maintained by local government was planned from 2013 but did not eventuate.  We cannot afford to wait any longer.”

Mr Dent said the Alliance was adding its voice to that of the WA Local Government Association in calling for the urgent expansion of the Region Run-Off-Road Crashes Program, both in terms of eligible roads and the funding available.

The call was made during the official relaunch of the Alliance, which takes in industry, local and state government players across an area bounded by Bunbury, Collie, Boddington and Pinjarra.

The Alliance has been operating for eight years and over that time has been credited with helping reduce road trauma and improve safety by advocating for road improvements and reduced speed limits, running local road safety education and awareness campaigns, leading traffic coordination and reduction initiatives to reduce conflict at peak travel times, and encouraging the use of safe vehicles.

Mr Dent said a recent review found the alliance continued to have a key role to play in reducing risks associated with industry-related traffic with the ultimate aim of improving road safety for all road users.