Skip to main content

A rise in crashes during the ‘back to school’ period is a major concern for Tasmania, according to the state’s leading road safety chief.

RACT Insurance chief executive Trent Sayers said the number of insurance claims that were linked to vehicles crashes rose from an average of 13 per day for February to 25 on February 7 this year – the first day of school for most Tasmanian children.

Road Safety Advisory Council chairman Garry Bailey said the new figures showed that Tasmanian drivers were behaving badly on a day when thousands of children were heading to school. Mr Bailey said a “minute or two saved on a journey” was a bad substitute for compromised road safety.

“Tasmanians, when behind the wheel, need to exercise greater care, patience and consideration for others,’’ he said.

“They need to drive to the conditions when roads are crowded … slowing down, planning your trip, putting more space between you and the car in front, allowing traffic to merge, turning off the phone.

“That applies even more when the roads are crowded, as they are on the first day of the school term.”

“Do Tasmanians believe death or injury is the price worth paying to get from A to B a little faster? Of course not. But that’s exactly what this poor behaviour means”

Mr Sayers said the ongoing ‘back-to-school’ problem was a consistent one, with data from the past five years revealing a 29 per cent claims jump in 2013, 26 per cent in 2014, 12 per cent in 2015, 22 per cent in 2016 and 22 per cent last year.

He said that while traffic police was important on such days, the only real solution was for motorists to show greater care and patience when the roads were busier than normal.

“To slow down and drive to the conditions … to not be angered or frustrated,” he said.

“Motorists need to remember to slow down again at school zones.”

While the data should serve as a wake-up call to the whole of Tasmania, the responsibility of the fleet manager to educate and promote a culture of safe driving within their organisation should never be understated.

Tasmania on average currently has the oldest vehicle fleets in Australia, with the typical age around 12 years according to the Road Safety Advisory Council. The organisation has been an active promoter of vehicle safety and regularly encourages fleet managers to update their fleets on a regular basis.

“With an old vehicle fleet, many people are not benefiting from improved safety features of new vehicles,” the council said.

“The Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) star rates new vehicles from 0 to 5 on level of occupant protection in a crash. The more stars, the better the protection. People should make safety the most important consideration when buying a vehicle.”

AfMA is proud to have an active presence within Tasmania and is delighted to connect with members, guests and industry experts at our regular professional development forums.