Speed, fatigue biggest killers on Hume

A car crash on the Hume north of Marulan in 2016.
A car crash on the Hume north of Marulan in 2016.

Speeding and fatigue have proved to be the biggest killers on the Hume Highway over the past 10 years. 

From the Hume Highway at Camden Valley Way overpass, Casula to the Wargeila Road overpass, Yass there have been 57 fatalities in the past 10 years. 

More than 17 per cent of the drivers involved in the 49 fatal crashes on the 249km stretch of road were under the age of 26. 

Transport for NSW confirmed that speeding contributed to 45 per cent of these crashes, fatigue to 20 per cent and alcohol to 2 per cent.

Just this year (up to November 30) there have been eight fatal crashes, resulting in 10 deaths, on the same stretch of road. 

Speeding contributed to 22 per cent of these crashes, fatigue to 11 per cent and alcohol to 11 per cent. 

NSW Centre for Road Safety executive director Bernard Carlon said speed was the biggest killer on NSW roads. 

“Speed is the biggest killer on our roads contributing to about 40 per cent of all road deaths in NSW last year,” he said. “If you choose not to follow the speed limit you put yourself and everyone else at risk.” Driving tired is the second biggest killer. “Crashes due to tiredness are twice as likely to be fatal simply because drivers who are asleep can’t brake,” Mr Carlon said.

Every year the NSW Centre for Road Safety invests $14.5 million into the Enhanced Enforcement Program, a partnership with NSW Police that pays for extra high visibility police operations to tackle offences such as speeding, drink and drug driving.

While the drink driving rate has decreased through Random Breath Testing and education campaigns, drink driving still remains a cause of trauma on the state's roads, with the death toll higher in regional areas. 

Young people face many challenges when learning the complex task of driving and because they are inexperienced, they also face a higher risk of danger, Mr Carlon said. 

He said that was why young drivers were over-represented in road crashes, with 100 lives lost last year involving a young driver aged 17 to 25.

Mr Carlon said changes were recently made to the the NSW Graduated Licensing Scheme to reduce the number of youth-related crashes.

“[Since its inception in July, 2000] there has been a 50 per cent reduction in the number of young drivers aged 17 to 25 killed on NSW roads.”