South Australia has record low road toll for 2016, drug drivers to face harsher penalties

Peter MalinauskasPHOTO: Peter Malinauskas says even one death on the road is too many. (AAP: Michael Ramsey)

Drug drivers, particularly those caught with children in the car, will face harsher penalties if new laws are introduced, South Australia’s Road Minister says.

Improvements from 2015 include:

  • Fatalities decreased by 14 per cent in rural areas, 10 per cent in greater Adelaide
  • Pedestrian fatalities halved, a total of nine compared to 18
  • Driver and passenger fatalities not wearing a seatbelt at the time of crash reduced to 12 per cent, compared to the five-year average (2011-2015) of 30 per cent.
  • Motorcyclists accounted for eight fatalities, three fewer than 2015
  • Speed was a contributing factor in 25 per cent of fatal crashes, an improvement on the five-year average of 29 per cent

South Australia’s 2016 road toll was the lowest on record, with 87 deaths — 15 fewer than the year before.

However police were kept busy on the last night of the year, testing more than 6,000 drivers.

Twenty-nine people were caught drink driving and seven were caught with drugs in their system.

A 19-year-old woman is in a critical condition after being hit by a car at Somerton Park at about 9:00pm.

Despite the improved road toll, Road Safety Minister Peter Malinauskas said one death on the road was too many, and motorists were still taking risks.

He said drugs and alcohol were still a major problem and the Government wanted to toughen up penalties, especially for drug drivers.

“Our intention is to, in essence, double the penalties associated with drug driving,” he said.

“Particularly for repeat offenders and under these new laws, if they pass the Parliament, those people that are driving with a child in the car and are caught drug driving will not be able to get their licence back until they have demonstrated they are clean from drug use.”

The figures for last year’s road toll, released today, showed the number of pedestrian deaths had halved from the year before and motorcyclist deaths had also fallen.

But the number of truck drivers killed increased from one to five.

The number of serious injuries in 2016 were also low at 718, close to the state’s previous record low of 711 in 2014.

Mr Malinauskas said the positive decline in road trauma had been achieved despite a steadily rising population and growth in the number of motor vehicles and licensed drivers.

The improved figures bring South Australia’s annual fatality rate to 5.1 per 100,000 population — closer in line to the historically best performing road safety states of New South Wales at 5 and Victoria at 4.7.

“[It’s the] single best result that South Australia has ever had in regards to its road toll, but tragically 87 lives lost is still 87 too many and we have to continue to work hard to see that number reduce,” Mr Malinauskas said.

Topics: road, accidents, disasters-and-accidents, states-and-territories, government-and-politics, state-parliament, sa

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