Last year’s serious road toll has resulted in the New South Government implementing a suite of new laws that seek to remedy the havoc being caused on the roads. In 2017, 392 people died on New South Wales roads, the largest toll since 2010. Although the toll had been solely declining over the preceding decades, it has recently been climbing again –over the past three years, car crashes have increased 20 percent and incidents involving light trucks have increased an incredible 85 percent.
The NSW government has responded with alarm, and has since been working hard to remedy this alarming statistic –premier Gladys Berejiklian vented her frustration in a press release, stating that “every 41 minutes in NSW someone is either killed or seriously injured on our roads, leaving families and friends with the heartache.”
To manage future deaths and injuries on the roads of New South Wales, a variety of different pieces of legislation are to be amended in 2018. Proposed changes include a harder stance on speeding, stricter approaches to drink and drug driving, lessening driver distraction and driver fatigue, truck safety and increased safety on country roads.
Managing mobile phones on the go
People using mobile phones while they’re driving still continues, despite heavy policing on the roads and fines being applied liberally to drivers caught. Despite this, drivers still continueto use their phones on the road, and potentially contributing to the road toll. As a way to combat this, laws are being amended so that cameras can be used to spot drivers actively using their phones. There are already a number of cameras already installed on Sydney's roads and bridges that can detect people using their phones illegally, with this technology set to be trialled first and then enabled by legislation.
Changing activity on the roads
It isn’t just the bustling cities within New South Wales that will be changed for the better. Plans to commit $125 million to country road upgrades through the Saving Lives on Country Roads program will allow for more than 1500 kilometres of wire and high-risk curb bumpers to be installed, measures to ensure drivers are less likely to merge into the wrong lanes. In addition to these larger measures, there will also be adjustments to tactile line markings, wide centre line and application of safety upgrades to high risk curves on the road. An additional $11 million is being committed for pedestrians and cyclist refuges.
To amend the increasing light truck statistics on the road, the NSW government plans to introduce 11 more heavy-vehicle average speed camera locations in Sydney designed to measure a truck’s speed between two points, and over potentially long distances.
Drugs and alcohol on NSW roads
Measures to modify drink and drug driving laws are also being introduced. Drivers convicted of mid-range drink-driving would be forced to havebuilt in alcohol-testing devices in their vehicles, a measure previously reserved for drivers convicted of high-range offences.
Revisions to prescription drugs on the road are also being examined – although the use of prescription medication is completely legal, the ability for certain medications to impair driving can very easily result in preventable accidents.
Have any questions about the changes in NSW law?
If you’d like any more information about how road laws are changing in NSW, or if you’ve been involved in an incident on the road, make sure to get in touch with the team at Paramount today. We’d be happy to answer any questions you might have, and can clear up any of the laws that you’d like clarification on.