From the Mayor's Desk | Fixing road tolls

Road Safety First: The Newell Highway is quickly developing a reputation as being dangerous and deadly yet the dribble of funding directed to it is utterly inadequate.
Road Safety First: The Newell Highway is quickly developing a reputation as being dangerous and deadly yet the dribble of funding directed to it is utterly inadequate.

Fixing road tolls

Road Tolls: The scene of last month's horrific accident near Dubbo that claimed two lives.

Road Tolls: The scene of last month's horrific accident near Dubbo that claimed two lives.

Right here in the Dubbo Region and across NSW, the community is directing its elected representatives to take decisive action to decrease the road toll.

The last few months have been horrific and Dubbo has been affected by road carnage that has shaken our region to its core.  These events have led to a demand for the surge of road deaths to be dealt with decisively.

An absolute zero road toll may be an unlikely possibility in the short to medium term. However, society and government should be striving for zero fatalities.

It has been well reported that the State Government has a 5.7 billion dollar surplus yet decisive action to properly fund road construction and road safety programs is missing.

In our patch we have serious road safety issues that need urgent attention. The Newell Highway is quickly developing a reputation as being dangerous and deadly yet the dribble of funding directed to it is utterly inadequate.

The Newell Highway needs proper re-alignment works and dramatically increased overtaking lanes and the same also applies to the Mitchell Highway.

Then there is the regional road network that makes one wonder if Australia is actually a western developed nation!  Here in the Dubbo Region, our roads are in desperate need for funding and so far policy makers have been simply irresponsive to the community’s concern.

Significant investment needs to be ploughed into the State road network and road safety programs.

Why not enable point to point cameras to also handle car movements and not just trucks? Why not have rumble lines (the bumpy road lines which vibrate your car if you sway too far over) standard on all major roads or double the number of overtaking lanes to be constructed?

Could two billion dollars of 5.7 billion dollar surplus be ploughed into regional and rural roads that have identified safety issues?

It does not take a rocket scientist to know that drug driving is a major contributor to road fatalities. Why not make a commitment that more types of drugs will be tested in roadside drug driver tests and commit to increase the amount of mobile testing.

Over the years I have been involved in the annual Rotary Youth Driver Development program. The Rotary volunteers invite schools to send students to learn about road safety. This program is fantastic because it educates young people using real life experiences.

The experts also tell young people a few home truths about how serious we need to take road safety. The only problem is that this program isn’t compulsory! So, State Government, why not make such a program compulsory for all learner drivers?

I understand there are people in our community right now putting together a proposal for a dedicated facility to train our young drivers. I challenge the government to take this proposal of driver training facilities seriously. Please stop dilly dallying around and get on with it.

This nation is capable of decisive political action when needed. Agree with it or not, John Howard’s decisive action by recalling and banning semiautomatic guns showed what decisive leadership is about.

Road trauma accounts for many more deaths each and every year but we do not have a serious national action plan to control the road toll.

The problem with our road toll and why governments ignore the importance of the issue is that people have been dying on our roads from the day cars were first built. It’s sad that our society has come to expect this issue to be normal. The community’s desensitisation to the road toll has enabled our elected officials to not take the issue seriously.

Decisive action needs to be taken now.

The money for change is in the bank, the community will is there and now it is time to take make the decision and just do it