Highway keeps killer reputation

THE proof is in and it confirms what many suspected: the Pacific Highway is Australia's deadliest road.

The 611-kilometre section of the highway between Chinderah and Hexham resulted in 1596 casualty crashes causing 128 deaths from 2005 to 2009.

In effect there was one death for every 4.7 kilometres of road over the period.

The number of deaths for the Pacific Highway is higher then the total figure for Victoria.

The Pacific Highway accounted for over one-third (35%) of fatalities on NSW highways on the national network despite accounting for just 16% of the national network in NSW.

The figures are from the latest Australian Road Assessment Program (AusRAP) report, which is funded by the Australian Automobile Association, the NRMA (NSW) and other state motoring clubs.

In total, the report analysed more than 20,000 km of highways which represents 3% of the total road network in Australia.

These carry over 15% of the nation's road traffic and experienced 1170 road-crash deaths, or 15% of all road deaths in Australia during the period 2005-2009.

This AusRAP analysis focuses on casualty crashes that occurred on rural sections of the National Land Transport Network and significant connecting roads.

NRMA Motoring and Services President Wendy Machin said while this report did not account for upgrades on the Pacific Highway over the past two years recent events showed it was still a dangerous road in desperate need of improvement.

"The evidence is clear that where parts of the highway have been upgraded to dual carriageways crashes have dramatically reduced along these routes," Ms Machin said.

"If funding commitments are made by both the NSW and Australian governments to complete the duplication of the Pacific Highway, we know the goal of completion by 2016 can be achieved if the necessary planning and pre-construction is made a priority."

Across Australia in the vicinity of 1400 people are killed each year and more than 32,500 are hospitalised.

This averages four deaths and nearly 90 serious injuries on Australian roads each day.

The cost to the community form this devastation is $74 million every day, according to the report.

The NRMA is lobbying the federal and state governments for more funding to extend the scope of the report to cover state roads.

Governments need to know where the black spots are, the spokesmen said.


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