THE national road toll in 1981, the year before random breath testing was introduced, was 3321.
That was 3321 lives ended prematurely, 3321 lives ended unnecessarily, 3321 families left to grieve and wonder why.
Governments of the day recognised a national disaster and took steps to remedy it.
RBT was the most high-profile change and that one simple measure has saved literally thousands of lives. But governments also poured millions of dollars into advertising and education campaigns, targeting young drivers, old drivers and even passengers.
In 2018, the national road toll was 1145 - still 1145 too many, but a long way from the 3321 deaths in 1982 So it can be done.
Educations campaigns, driver programs and increased awareness - all backed by government spending - can change behaviour and bring results.
Which brings us to this week's tragic suicide figures handed down by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
The terrible figures show that between 2014-2018, 117 people died by suicide across the Central West, including 27 in Bathurst.
Across the nation, 3046 people took their own life in 2018 alone.
That was 3046 lives ended prematurely, 3046 lives ended unnecessarily, 3046 families left to grieve and wonder why.
The number is eerily close to the 1982 road toll and demands the same intervention by government.
Politicians will say the government is doing all it can to tackle the country's suicide crisis and will point to increased spending on mental health in recent years.
That funding is welcome, but it simply isn't enough.
Governments at all levels are too quick to wash their hands of responsibility in this area, happy to rely on non-government organisations such as Lifeline Central West to take up the slack.
Lifelines volunteers do a wonderful job working as telephone counsellors to lend a sympathetic ear to callers at their lowest ebb and they should be left alone to do just that.
Every hour a Lifeline volunteer or staff member spends worry about fundraising for the organisation is an hour that could have been spent saving lives.
Governments alone, through proper funding, can stop that happening.
For help in a crisis
- Call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
- Call Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.