A new Office of Road Safety report has revealed more people are dying on WA roads, with the Motor Trade Association predicting 2015 will be “worse still”.
The preliminary crash statistics report for 2014 shows 184 people were killed on WA roads – 23 more than in 2013 – while the number of people critically injured in car accidents rose from 192 to 298. So far this year, 44 people have died on WA roads.
Office of Road Safety acting policy and strategy director Linley Crackel said the statistics were unacceptable.
“We had very positive trends from 2008 to 2013 so to see them reversed in 2014 is obviously extremely disappointing,” Mrs Crackel said.
“We do need to put some extra effort into the areas that are becoming a real issue.”
However, Mrs Crackel said it was difficult to pinpoint what went wrong in 2014.
“The overall trend is downward, which is heartening, but I suppose in a statistical sense it’s hard to isolate whether one thing went pear-shaped in 2014 compared to 2013,” she said.
The report, released today, also revealed a decrease in the number of alcohol-related deaths, with 41 fatalities last year, compared to the average of 55 between 2009 and 2013.
But Motor Trade Association chief executive officer Stephen Moir said the statistic did not necessarily represent an improvement.
“There has been less deaths on the road due to alcohol, but we’re seeing an increase in the amount of drug-related crashes, so really one evil is being replaced by another,” Mr Moir said.
“I think drivers are more aware of alcohol testing, and because of this, they choose other substances instead.”
St John Ambulance metropolitan operations manger Darrell Kettle said inattention was a major contributor in serious crashes, with the report citing that road deaths caused by inattention had risen from 14 in 2013 to 22 last year.
“I think unfortunately we’re seeing an upward trend of severe trauma cases, and a lot of those would be impacted by too much speed and a lack of attention,” Mr Kettle said.
He said the severity of crashes had increased as a result.
“There is more multiple patients and multiple vehicles involved than what we’ve seen in the past which indicates to me that people aren’t paying attention on the roads,” he said.
Mr Moir said the association was doing what it could to increase awareness on the roads.
“Our push is to improve driver behaviour with increased signage on roads and other things like that,” he said.
“Last year was a record bad year, 2013 wasn’t good and 2015 looks to be worse still.
“The reality is we’re still killing far too many people on our roads.”