ROAD TOLL: Lockdown doesn’t stop local leadfoots on highway
WE MAY be travelling less on the roads, but nearly 30 local leadfoots are being caught a day since the COVID crisis began.
Figures from State Revenue show the Ulmarra southbound camera is in the top-10 in the state for fines handed out in March 2020, with 803 infringements.
The total cost of these fines was $213,585 which is approximately $25,000 more revenue than the same time last year, despite 200 more people being caught for the same month last year.
This is due to more higher range detections in the area, with one of the infringements for a vehicle caught speeding more than 45km/h over the speed limit.
There is a gradual decrease of offenders at the site, with the total for this financial year to March only one month since July topping 1000 fines.
This compares to four months over 1000 in the last financial year, with data available from the camera's turn-on in December 2018.
Overall, this financial year the camera at Ulmarra has caught 7844, compared to 7040 in the 2018 financial year from December, with fines totalling nearly $3m.
The speeding information comes as new research conducted by the NRMA identified Northern NSW roads as among the worst in the state with death and injuries from road trauma costing the community more than $1.5 billion.
This figure equates to a road trauma cost of $492,364,548 for the Clarence Valley alone.
The worrying statistics provides both the Australian and NSW Governments with valuable insights into where stimulus spending could be prioritised to help save lives, boost regional economies and support access to regional tourism post the coronavirus shutdown.
The NRMA strongly supports Australian and NSW Government investment in road infrastructure as an economic stimulus to counter the effects of the coronavirus by supporting local employment and suppliers in the short term, and reduce the road toll in the longer term.
The Mid-Coast LGA alone had nearly $650 million in road trauma costs while the Tamworth NSW crash data shows two-thirds (66%) of deaths on the state's roads occur in regional areas, and despite the new Pacific Highway upgrade being finished this year, grassroots campaigns in towns such as Ulmarra and in other places have failed to stop the growing road toll on the Pacific Highway this year.
The NRMA analysed the crash history between 2014 and 2018 across regional and metropolitan Local Government Areas (LGA) based on the number of people per region and the number of kilometres of road in the respective LGAs. The research places an
apples-for-apples cost burden comparison of deaths and injuries on the local communities.
NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury said Northern NSW region stood out as a key area for road infrastructure funding, particularly when domestic tourism resumes in the region.
"The Australian and NSW Governments are right to look to infrastructure spending to help Australia get back on its feet and this research by the NRMA sheds some valuable light on those communities that have borne the brunt of the economic cost of deaths and injuries," Mr Khoury said.
"Fixing regional roads will save lives, provide a much-needed boost to regional economies and give greater access to regional tourism destinations, particularly as we emerge from COVID-19 travel restrictions.
"Northern NSW has always been a top destination for holidays, and with the international travel restrictions to remain in place for some time, domestic locations will rise even further in popularity. We need to make sure tourists and locals are driving on the safest and most efficient roads possible."