Take the pledge this Rural Road Safety month

Crash sites in the Hilltops region between 2014 and 2018. Red dots signify fatalities. Photo: contributed
Crash sites in the Hilltops region between 2014 and 2018. Red dots signify fatalities. Photo: contributed

The Georgina Josephine Foundation is imploring Hilltops residents to demonstrate their commitment to saving lives by taking the Rural Road Safety pledge this month.

With rural road fatalities making up two thirds of last year's national road toll, new research has looked under the bonnet at dangerous driver behaviour and the importance of further education to save precious lives.

Released by the Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF) to mark the third annual Rural Road Safety Month, the research reveals that a staggering 78 per cent of city and regional drivers admit to risky driver behaviour generally, while one in five confess to being more likely to break a road rule in rural areas.

Worryingly, speed is the number one dangerous driving act that all Australians are prepared to risk on rural roads, while speed, fatigue and drunk driving are the top behaviours found to most likely impact rural drivers.

Inspector Jacob Reeves of Young Police said most crashes on rural roads involve local people.

He urges people to drive to conditions.

"As the Georgina Josephine Foundation reminds us, rural roads are over-represented in serious crash statistics," Inspector Reeves said.

"The characteristics of rural road crashes include higher travelling speeds causing a greater risk of fatal or serious injury in a crash and a high number of single vehicle crashes, especially cars leaving the roadway.

"Most crashes involve local residents.

"Only a small number involve visitors to the area.

"You can increase your safety by driving to the road conditions rather than the speed limit, follow the road rules, take regular rest breaks, be mindful of wildlife and stock and do not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

"Behind every road statistic is a grieving family and friendship group and deaths on roads impact the local community tremendously. Always remember - drive to survive."

The ARSF research was conducted by a third-party research company, Pure Profile, and was an online survey of more than 1,000 licenced Australians, nationally representative by gender, age and location.

Take the pledge online at www.arsf.com.au