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Why is the Tasmanian Road Toll so high?

The phone rings – you answer…. you have just been advised one of your family members has been killed in a car crash…

You can imagine how horrible this would feel – but for 95 families in June – this was a reality.

When you think of it like that – you have to realise that this is not just a number – this is a major issue and one that should really hit you hard.

There were 95 road deaths during June 2022 in Australia.

Tasmania has had more then twice the road deaths in the last 12 months compared to the same period last year (31 deaths up from 13).

What is causing these crashes and is Tasmania alone in seeing this increase?

Other states that have seen a significant increase include Northern Territory (up 52%) and ACT (up 66%) with South Australia and Western Australia being the only states showing a slight reduction.

3 Males are killed on average compared to 1 female. A mix of age ranges suggests that all road users are equally at risk. Majority of the crashes were single vehicle.

It is interesting to note that although speed was a factor – with the majority of fatalities occurring in 100+ zones – over 35% of fatalities occurred in zones of 60km/h or less (source https://www.bitre.gov.au/publications/ongoing/road_deaths_australia_monthly_bulletins)

People are crashing and dying even at low speed and this makes no sense!

So Tasmania isn’t alone with seeing an increased road toll but with the common causes of crashes being distraction, poor speed management and vehicles running off the road we can say that Tasmania has probably some of the most twisty and unforgiving roads in Australia.

With a lack of multi lane highways and freeways – many road users commute daily on single carriage way (lane) roads. These are always going to be higher risk with oncoming traffic and no additional lanes to maneuver into.

Poor driving can be observed in every state of Australia on a daily basis. Drivers not paying attention, going to fast or too slow, on their phones or just wandering out of their lanes. The list goes on.

What we can say is that now – as much as ever – you need to drive defensively.

You need to be reactive to other drivers and be prepared to take evasive action if someone was to ‘make a mistake’.

For years we have handed out drivers licenses to anyone that can steer a car around the block, park and not break any road rules. Is this enough to give someone a licence?

Tasmania and all states need to seriously look at the standard of driving on our roads and realise that without better training and higher licence standards we are going to continue to see these devastating crashes take away family members.

Finally I would like to ask why is it called a road TOLL?

“a charge payable to use a bridge or road”

We need to drop the word toll – it is not a price we pay it is a death, serious injury or crash.

We can all do our bit to be a safer driver and even though we do our best as driver trainers – there is always room for improvement – so put down the phone, pay attention and you might save your life or that of someone you love.

Author – Mark Butcher, Managing Director, Performance Driving Australia.