WESTERN region roads have accounted for about two-thirds of the state’s increased road toll in 2016.
As of Friday morning, a total of 280 people had died on NSW roads in 2016, up from 248 by the same time last year.
But in the western region the road toll had increased from about 34 to 54 – a 58.8 per cent rise which has the region’s top traffic police officer deeply concerned.
The western region extends from Lithgow to Broken Hill and from Lightning Ridge to Forbes.
The rise comes despite repeated appeals for drivers to take more responsibility on the roads, which Western Region Traffic Tactician Inspector Peter McMenamin fears are falling on deaf ears.
“It would appear so. The education and the profile that the police are putting out there, our level of enforcement, if anything we’ve upped our level of enforcement on major highways,” Inspector McMenamin said.
According to Inspector McMenamin more crashes are occurring on major arterial roads, which police have responded to by increasing their presence.
Overall NSW has recorded a 17 per cent rise in road deaths since August 2015 – the highest of any state.
The next worst jurisdiction was Victoria with an 11 per cent increase, followed by Tasmania (5.9 per cent) and Queensland (5.2 per cent).
South Australia was the only state to reduce its road toll, with a 14.5 per cent drop in fatalities.
Nationwide the number of road deaths rose 6.9 per cent, with 1,276 lives lost.
NSW Road Safety Bureau statistics show speed was considered a factor in 44 per cent of fatal crashes in the year ending August 2016.
Fatigue was the next main factor, playing a part in 18.7 per cent of fatal crashes in NSW, while alcohol contributed to 14.2 per cent.
“While the road toll is consistently up across the state we’ve also had a significant number of multiple fatalities,” Inspector McMenamin said.
“Each crash has its own different circumstances.”
Police will continue to target speed, motorists under the influence of drugs or alcohol, inattentiveness and restraints in the lead up to the October long weekend, Inspector McMenamin warned.
“A lot of the issues that we’re looking at can be attributed to driver behaviour directly, which is why we continue to appeal to drivers to obey the road rules and do the right thing,” he said.