Opposition calls for road safety focus following year of tragedy and trauma

Following a tragic year on WA roads the Opposition is calling on the State Government to invest more in improving road safety outcomes, particularly in regional WA.

Shadow Minister for Road Safety Martin Aldridge MLC said 2022 had been a devastating year on regional roads, with 175 lives lost.

“Tragically, 2022 was the worst year on our roads since 2016, and one of the worst years ever on regional roads, with 112 fatalities,” Mr Aldridge said.

“Despite just 20 per cent of the population living in regional WA, almost two-thirds of fatal and serious injury crashes occur on regional roads – which have sadly seen over 500 deaths and 2,900 serious injuries over the past five years.”

During a debate in Parliament this week, Mr Aldridge said the McGowan Labor Government had been sitting idly on significant funding from the Road Trauma Trust Account (RTTA) which could be better utilised.

“It’s concerning that in the same year WA recorded its worst death toll in six years, the RTTA had a closing balance of $89 million,” Mr Aldridge said.

“It’s unacceptable that these funds – which are dedicated to tackling road trauma – have gone unspent when there are countless road safety projects across WA which could benefit from investment and help reduce our road toll.”

Mr Aldridge said the State Government must act urgently to fully fund the Regional Road Safety Program. This program was identified by the RAC as their top priority ahead of the upcoming State Budget and currently has a $73 million funding shortfall.

“Completion of the Regional Road Safety Program is predicted to save thousands of lives and reduce regional road trauma by 60 per cent,” he said.

Mr Aldridge said the State Government also needed to consider the benefits of establishing a rescue helicopter in the Mid West to rapidly respond to serious road accidents.

“The Opposition has called for a Mid West rescue chopper for several years, given it is the largest population area in the State without a dedicated rescue helicopter service.

“Research shows significant benefits to rescue helicopters which can reach road crash victims during the critical ‘golden hour’ and drastically increase survival rates following major trauma.”

Mr Aldridge also called on the State Government to increase their support for road trauma counselling services in regional WA.

“Services such as Heart Hub South West provide road safety advocacy and education, crisis counselling and support services for those impacted by road trauma and their families, but are overwhelmed by demand and restricted due to limited financial support.”

Mr Aldridge cautioned all road users to drive with care ahead of the upcoming Easter long-weekend and April school holidays