Pacific Hwy stats don't add up

A study showed that one-third of road fatalities on a national highway in NSW happened on the Pacific Hwy.
A study showed that one-third of road fatalities on a national highway in NSW happened on the Pacific Hwy. FRANK REDWARD

THE Pacific Highway accounted for more than one-third of fatalities on NSW highways on the national network despite accounting for just 16% of the  network.

Funded by the Australian Automobile Association, the NRMA and other state motoring clubs, Australian Road Assessment Program (AusRAP) report found that 128 people lost their lives on the Pacific Highway for the period 2005-09 and nearly 1,600 crashes that led to serious injury also occurred in the same period.

These damning statistics were released by the NRMA today and will surprise very few residents on the Coffs Coast.

While funding for a safer Pacific Hwy in the region is paramount after the recent death ot two people in a tragic road accident at Urunga, the report also revealed that the percentage of NSW highways on the national network rated as a medium-high or high risk increased from seven to 15 per cent.

This ran against the national average, which saw the risk level fall.

The AusRAP report for the period 2005-09 also found that four people are killed and 90 people are seriously injured on Australian roads every day and that road crashes cost the Australian community $74 million every day.

NRMA Motoring & Services President Wendy Machin said while this report did not account for upgrades on the Pacific Highway over the last 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."

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