Research used to form Wentworth Shire Council’s recently endorsed Road Safety Action Plan 2018-2021 has found that 60 percent of casualty crashes in the Wentworth Local Government Area occurred in speed zones of 100km/h or higher between 2013 and 2017.

WENTWORTH Shire Council has committed to reducing the effects of road trauma in its patch after Councillors this week endorsed the Shire’s new Road Safety Action Plan 2018-2021 for submission to the NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS).

Councillors voted on Wednesday night to push ahead with the submission, committing to identifying road safety issues and promoting projects and strategies that help achieve zero road fatalities and/or serious injuries in the Shire.

A requirement of the Local Government Road Safety Program, the Road Safety Action Plan is the result of work undertaken by the Shire’s Road Safety Officer (RSO).

A co-funded position between Council and NSW RMS, Shire’s RSO worked with local communities and community partners to raise the profile of road safety.

The Plan approved by Councillors this week found that 87 crashes were recorded in the Wentworth Local Government Area (LGA) over a five-year period between 2013 and 2017, and that as a result there were 135 casualties.

Other findings include:

• That 83 percent of fatal crashes occurred on a straight section of road, with 67 percent occurring in fine weather, during daylight hours and in a speed zone of 100km/h or greater.

• That 50 percent of fatalities were caused due to a person not wearing a seatbelt, while excessive speed was identified in 33 percent of fatal crashes.

• That 82 percent of all casualty crashes occurred on a fine day, on a dry road surface and within daylight hours between dawn and dusk.

• That 60 percent of casualty crashes occurred in speed zones of 100km/h or higher.

• That 45 percent of all crashes (inclusive of 37.5 percent of fatal crashes) occurred on State highways, which make up only eight percent of the 2529 kilometres of roads within the region.

• That 42.5 percent of crash movements were run-off road crashes on a straight section of road.

• That crashes occurring in school holiday periods make up 28.7 percent of all crashes.

• That while cars are the most prevalent vehicle type involved in crashes, there has been a 2.5 percent increase in the involvement of light trucks and motorcycles, with light trucks having a 5.8 percent higher involvement than in all NSW, while the involvement of motorcycles is 3.2 percent higher than the NSW statistic.

• That males are vehicle controllers in 78 percent of crashes, and that males in the 25 to 34, 45 to 54 and 65-plus age groups are more at risk.

• That the 25 to 34 age group represents 20 percent of controllers in crashes, yet represent just 10 percent of the population – making them the most at risk age group.

• That driver fatigue is 5.1 percent higher in the Wentworth LGA than all of NSW.

• That non-use of seatbelts is a behavioural factor in 50 percent of fatalities and is four times more prevalent in Wentworth LGA than in all of NSW.

• That alcohol as a behavioural factor in casualty crashes increased by 1.2 percent in the reporting period, and is more than double the NSW State average.

The Plan also outlines a number of projects and initiates Council will undertake in 2018/19 alongside other bodies, including NSW Police and NSW RMS to name a few, to promote safer driving practices.

These include a Heavy Vehicle Forum, which aims to improve awareness amongst heavy vehicle, plant and machinery operators regarding compliance and safety issues.

The forum will target primary producers, owner-operators, larger commercial operators and businesses which generate a high number of heavy vehicle movements.

Another initiative flagged is the Plan B Anti Drink Driving Campaign, which aims to run a minimum of two ‘Plan B’ promotions at various events throughout Wentworth LGA.

They will be inclusive of a ‘Win a Swag’ competition, highlighting a swag as an excellent Plan B option, with the entry form being a call to action encouraging entrants to think about
Plan B options for events they attend when they plan to drink alcohol.

It will also include courtesy breath testing on adult patrons leaving the event, and where appropriate, alternate transport (such as a bus service) will be organised and promoted as an alternate to drink-driving.