The Deputy Premier, Minister for Regional NSW and Member for Monaro John Barilaro, alongside Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey today unveiled the first comprehensive road safety education campaign specifically targeting people living in regional NSW. In Queanbeyan today Mr Barilaro said the campaign is emotive and powerful, and uses the stories of real crash victims from the bush to send a strong message – that too many country people are dying on the state’s roads.
“This campaign is about getting the message out to country people that it’s not tourists or people from the city crashing and dying on their roads, it’s them – the locals,” Mr Barilaro said. “If you live in the country you are four times more likely to die in a road crash than if you live in a metropolitan area. It’s simply unacceptable,” he said. Mr Barilaro said in his own electorate of Monaro, 42 lives were lost and another 198 people were seriously injured on the region’s roads last year.
“It’s sobering to think the vast majority of these lives lost were local, country people who died close to home and no doubt on roads they’d driven countless times before,” Mr Barilaro said. Mrs Pavey the campaign, which will roll out in the lead up to the busy Christmas Holiday period, would encourage country people to stop making excuses for risky behaviour on their local roads. “Last year we lost 252 people on country roads. That’s one third of our population making up two thirds of our road toll,” Mrs Pavey said.
“We know that deaths in the country that involve someone driving too fast, having too much to drink, falling asleep behind the wheel or not wearing a seatbelt are way above the rest of the state.” The NSW Government is also partner with local councils, community groups and local industries to help spread this important safety message across regional NSW. The campaign focuses on actual victims of road trauma like Croppa Creek farmer Sam Bailey, who features in one of the TV advertisements.
Mr Bailey said people in regional communities needed to start talking about the problem. “I became a quadriplegic as a result of taking a risk and not wearing a seatbelt. I was thrown from a moving vehicle and my life has never been the same,” Mr Bailey said. “Recently I lost a dear friend in a road crash on a country road – this tragedy is real and it is happening to our families and friends. “I never thought I would end up a victim of a road crash, and I never imagined one of my friends would be killed on the road, but I am living proof that tragedy is real and it can happen to you, even if you think you are indestructible,” he said.