Call for urgent road upgrades to prevent road deaths

MEDIA RELEASE - 03/01/2012

All high-risk roads should be urgently fitted with a wire rope centre barrier to prevent head-on collisions, says a leading road safety campaigner.

Clive Matthew-Wilson, editor of the car review website dogandlemon.com, was commenting after today’s fatal crash at Hunterville. The accident was caused by one car drifting into the path of another.

“This is the second fatal head-on collision this holiday weekend that could easily have been prevented. All that was needed was a wire rope median barrier to separate opposing lanes of traffic.”

Figures released under the Official Information Act show it would cost between $550 million - $1.1 billion to install wire rope median barriers on 372km of high risk, high traffic volume roads that don't currently have a median barrier.

Matthew-Wilson comments:

“This sounds like a lot of money, but it’s actually pretty cheap compared to the cost of a single new road. The AA estimates that measures such as such as installing wire ropes and rumble strips could prevent up to 90 road deaths per year. That’s nearly a third of the current road toll. Why does the government continue to hold up this vital road safety move?”

“Scientific studies show beyond doubt that many head-on collisions are easily preventable.”

“When a wire rope median barrier was installed on a notorious stretch of the Centennial highway, the serious injuries and deaths stopped overnight. Surely this result speaks for itself?”

“The government should make these wire rope barriers its top priority, far ahead of building new roads that may not be ready for decades.”

Matthew-Wilson adds:

“For as long as there have been cars, there have been angry, tired and distracted drivers who tragically die due to a single moment’s inattention. I think that, in 100 years time, children will scarcely believe that, in the 21st century, cars were able to speed past each other in opposite directions at 100km/h, with nothing to stop those vehicles colliding.”