Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast Gareth Ward and Member for South Coast Shelley Hancock today launched the first ever comprehensive road safety education campaign to target regional NSW in an all-out effort to spread the critical message that too many country people are dying on our State’s roads.

Mr Ward said that Saving Lives On Country Roads aims to highlight the hidden crisis unfolding almost daily on the state’s regional road network, a crisis which is devastating families and local communities.

“The campaign is also designed to kick start a new conversation in the country by challenging the ‘yeah but!’ attitude of excuses many drivers make to justify taking deadly risks on our roads like speeding, drink and drug driving, driving tired and not wearing seatbelts,” he said.

“We need to face up to the fact that far too many country people are dying on our roads.

“Last year we lost 252 people in the country. That’s two thirds of the road toll for the entire State.

“In the Kiama electorate, 29 people have lost their lives and 413 were seriously injured on our roads in the past five years from 2012 to 2016. This has to stop.

“And that’s why a campaign like this is so important to get the message across to country drivers that it’s not tourists or people from the city dying on their roads, it’s locals,” Mr Ward said.

Mrs Hancock said that as part of the campaign, the NSW Government and Transport for NSW, will partner with local Councils, community groups and local industries to help spread this important safety message across the Shoalhaven.

“This campaign is backed up by a comprehensive Government road safety infrastructure investment package for this financial year which includes more than $9 million spent locally for vital safety upgrades on the Illawarra and South Coast’s riskiest roads and intersections,” she said.

“Significant safety improvements such as the $1.45 million upgrade along Currarong Road, the $640,000 upgrade of Culburra Road and various intersections along the Princes Highway including at The Wool Road, Jervis Bay Road, Sussex Inlet Road, and Andrews Road are being made to help drive the road toll towards zero and save country lives.

“Keeping school children safe on our roads is also a priority for the NSW Government, with $29 million committed to roll out seatbelts on all regional schools buses by 2019.

“From 2012 to 2016 on South Coast roads, 33 people lost their lives and 320 were seriously injured.

“That is more than half the population of Bawley Point and far too many.

“The new $3.4 million dollar campaign is part of the NSW Government’s vision of a future free of road trauma and the ultimate goal of zero deaths and serious injuries on our roads,” Mrs Hancock said.