Rural and remote road crashes: piecing together the story

Rural and remote road crashes: piecing together the story Conference Paper

9th National Rural Health Conference: Standing up for Rural Health - Learning from the past - Action for the future

  • Author(s): Craig Veitch, Teresa O’Connor
  • Published: 2007

Abstract: Deaths from rural road crashes continue at a higher rate per head of population than that for major cities, with the risk of dying on rural roads exceeding that on motorways by four to six times. In particular the male death rate from motor vehicle crashes in rural and remote areas of Australia is significantly higher than the male death rate in major cities. In 1992, rural and remote road safety was identified as a priority area in the inaugural National Road Safety Strategy 1992–2000. This led to the first national Rural Road Safety Seminar in 1995, at which the Australian Transport Safety Council and transport ministers from all States and Territories championed the development of a separate rural and remote road safety action plan — Commonwealth Rural Road Safety Action Plan (1996) — designed to reduce the incidence and severity of road crashes in country areas by: (i) increasing public awareness of the economic costs of rural crashes; (ii) addressing known deficiencies in identified crash areas; and (iii) improving driver behaviour and attitudes towards alcohol, excessive speed, seatbelt compliance and driving while fatigued. In response to evidence and the paucity of research specifically examining rural road trauma, a five-year multi-component study aimed at increasing knowledge about rural and remote road crashes and informing road safety policy was designed. The overall aims of the study are to: • understand behavioural and social factors contributing to crash involvement in order to inform prevention strategies • develop, identify and trial targeted countermeasures • study the experience, outcomes and costs of rehabilitation for patients admitted to hospital after a motor vehicle crash. The study is being undertaken in northern Queensland with data collection commencing in March 2004 and scheduled to end in March 2007. The study area encompasses that part of Queensland north and west of Bowen (approximately 40% of Queensland’s land area), excluding the major urban centres of Townsville, Thuringowa and Cairns—defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics as ‘Part A’ urban statistical local areas). This paper presents some initial results from one component of the study: interviews with road crash patients admitted to hospital between March 2004 and May 31 2006. Demographic data, use of safety restraints and helmets, levels of drinking and attitudes to road safety practices and enforcement are reported

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Suggested Citation
Craig Veitch, Teresa O’Connor, 2007, Rural and remote road crashes: piecing together the story, Conference Paper, viewed 09 August 2022,

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