The Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF) is imploring regional Victorian drivers to choose road safety, with admissions of risky road behaviour significantly higher amongst rural road users compared to city drivers.
Despite road trauma being the number one killer of children aged 14 and under and the second highest killer of young people aged under 24, new research has put the spotlight on the dangerous behaviours of regional drivers and the need for further education.
Released by the Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF) in the lead up to Fatality Free Friday (May 31), the research reveals that not even having children in the car is a deterrent for the region’s drivers taking risks on the road.
Worryingly, almost half (45%) of regional Victorian parents admit to breaking road laws or undertaking risky behaviour when their own children are in the car, compared to just one quarter (26%) of Melbourne drivers.
Added to this, 1 in 10 of the region’s parents admit to taking the same risks when driving a vehicle occupied by someone else’s children.
What’s more, one third of regional Victorian drivers admit to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, while 1 in 4 admit to speeding on a regular basis.
ARSF founder and CEO Russell White said this was just the tip of the iceberg, with risky road behaviour, for parents and non-parents alike, continuing to climb when driving solo - no matter who was waiting for them at home.
“While parents are most guilty of bad behaviour with children in the car, the majority of rural drivers seem to believe it is acceptable to take even greater risks if it’s just themselves in the car,” Mr White said.
“The research shows that when we’re driving alone, the likelihood of taking a risk increases by roughly 20 per cent, with men more likely than women to take risks on the road.
“However, the stark reality is that any time you take a risk behind the wheel, you are putting the lives of every motorist, passenger, cyclist and pedestrian around you at risk.
“It’s imperative we stamp out the idea that it’s just drivers who suffer the consequences of road risk taking. There’s no room for complacency and all lives must be top of mind for road users.”
The research has been released as the ARSF calls on individuals to make their Fatality Free Friday pledge online or at one of the many public signing events across the country.
Road users can #ChooseRoadSafety and demonstrate their commitment to reducing the nation’s road toll by taking the pledge by visiting https://arsf.com.au/take-the-pledge/.