The NSW government has announced it will spend $307 million on road safety over the coming year, a move that could significantly reduce the number of car accident injuries and deaths in the state.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Justice and Police Troy Grant unveiled the spending increase alongside Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Duncan Gay. The politicians said this is the most funding that has been put towards road safety in the history of NSW.
The highest proportion of the investment will be spent on identifying and solving the state’s black spots. As such, roads where the most casualties occur will receive $25.5 million.
The government has set aside a similar amount ($25 million) for ramping up police enforcement methods, such as roadside drug testing. Funding of between $1 million and $10 million will be allocated to approximately a dozen other initiatives.
Mr Gay said: “This government will not sit on our hands when it comes to road safety and this record budget is proof that no element will be left unturned as part of our promise to reduce fatalities on our roads.”
The money will come from Australian government coffers, as well as the NSW Community Road Safety Fund, which is where the fines from speed cameras are directed.
Better car accident responses
According to Mr Grant, one of the key projects set to benefit from funding is improved response times to fatal crashes. The government will introduce signage, line marking and other safety measures as part of the program.
Police officers will also receive cutting-edge technology to deal with illicit drug taking in the community. Mr Grant said around one in 285 people return a positive breath test for alcohol, while one in 13 individuals fail for drugs.
“More than 90 per cent who test positive to drugs have more than one drug in their system,” he stated. “The message is simple: getting behind the wheel with drugs in your system is not only completely reckless and irresponsible, it is illegal.”
There is also a clear focus on improving road safety across the state’s schools. The government is spending $4.8 million to complete the rollout of flashing lights at academic institutions, as well as $6.5 million for road safety education.
“We said we’d get flashing lights to every school in NSW before the end of the year and we’re right on track to deliver, with more than 60 per cent of the current flashing lights rollout already completed.”