AN average speed camera for cars should be trialed on the Mitchell Highway, between Bathurst and Orange, road safety expert Matt Irvine says.
Last year, the NSW road toll hit a seven-year high with 392 people killed on the roads, with many dying in regional parts of the state.
Mr Irvine said while the introduction of mandatory seatbelt use and drink driving laws resulted in a huge drop in the numbers of people killed on the roads, more needs to be done.
- Read more: 28 people killed on Bathurst region roads
“The 2017 road toll was unacceptably high, but in terms of historically [before seatbelt and drink driving laws] it’s low,” he said.
He said there was no “silver bullet” left to help drop the toll further, and said state and federal governments, along with road safety experts, must work together to introduce new measures to reduce deaths on roads
“I don’t think that there’s one single measure, it really needs to be a suite of things,” Mr Irvine said.
While average speed (point-to-point) cameras are currently only used for trucks, he said they should go on trial for cars as well.
“I’m very in favour of a trial … I think the Bathurst to Orange road [Mitchell Highway] is crying out for that after all those awful fatalities,” Mr Irvine said.
I think the Bathurst to Orange road [Mitchell Highway] is crying out for that after all those awful fatalities.Road safety expert Matt Irvine
He said the cameras should monitor all vehicles, from Dunkeld to Lucknow, and this would be a disincentive for anyone to speed.
“Point-to-point is inherently fair, where as a highway patrol car of fixed camera captures your speed at one point only,” he said.
“Motorists don’t like to be told what to do, but if speed really is the problem police say it is we really need to trial point-to-point cameras.”
Bathurst driving instructor Warren Aubin said driver behaviour was to blame for many of the accidents.
“People need to be more alert and aware of distractions in the car and fatigue setting in,” he said. “There’s got to be some sort of technology that prevents phones being used in the car.”
Mr Aubin said two-way radios used in trucks were just as dangerous as mobile phones.
And, while the Mitchell Highway west of Bathurst has been the scene of a number of fatalities and serious injuries, he said the road was not to blame.
“The road between Bathurst and Orange is a really good road, there’s nothing wrong with it,” he said. “People have to be more responsible for their driving actions.”
Member for Bathurst Paul Toole said all options must be considered to reduce road deaths.
“People are not getting the message, even with the strong campaigns that are being targeted directly for country areas,” he said.
“We’ve had people who are still getting behind the wheel of a car they’re not putting their seatbelt on, they’re drinking under the influence and we’ve got people who are still speeding in areas across our state.
There’s an idiot factor, some people do not get the message. Some people think it’s safe to be able to drive from one street to another and not put their seatbelt on.Member for Bathurst Paul Toole
“There’s an idiot factor, some people do not get the message. Some people think it’s safe to be able to drive from one street to another and not put their seatbelt on.
“These people are clearly not getting the message.”
There have been 28 people killed on roads around Bathurst since 2012, data from Transport for NSW shows.
The most recent was 70-year-old Lithgow woman Astrid Ciosmak whose Mazda 3 sedan collided head-on with a large truck on the Great Western Highway at Mount Lambie on January 10.
Along with the fatalities, 184 people were seriously injured on Bathurst region roads.
Numbers across the Central West were just as shocking – with 161 people killed and a further 1396 seriously injured on the roads.
Mr Toole said these deaths impact upon loved ones and the wider community.
“We need look at what options are available, we need to work with the NSW Police Force to determine what other measures can be undertaken to try and reduce the road toll on our roads in NSW,” he said.