While COVID shut down many areas of our lives, sadly road trauma has continued to devastate families and communities across NSW.

So far this year, 279 lives have been lost on NSW roads. While this number is slightly down compared to the same time in 2019 (predominantly due to COVID reducing road use and traffic), sadly the rate of fatalities in the 17 to 25 age group has not reduced.

53 young people aged 17 to 25 have died on NSW roads so far this year – exactly the same number as had died on our roads by the same time last year. This means young people make up a slightly higher percentage of fatalities so far in 2020 compared to 2019 – a sad and concerning trend after progress in recent years.

Despite the volume of traffic falling during COVID-19, there has also been a spike in speed related fatalities. From the seven months of March to September 2020, 50 percent of road fatalities involved excessive or inappropriate speed, up from 39 per cent for the same period in 2019.

In response to these challenges last week the NSW Government announced proposed changes to drink and drug driving laws, and changes to the NSW Mobile Speed Camera Program. In early 2021 a proposal for harsher penalties for those who choose to drive with a combination of illegal alcohol and illicit drugs in their system will be introduced into Parliament.

Meanwhile enhancements to the NSW Mobile Speed Camera Program will be rolled out to bring NSW in line with other Australian states. The changes include the removal of speed camera warning signs – consistent with the successful mobile phone detection camera program. Independent modelling estimates these changes may save between 34 to 43 lives and prevent around 600 serious injuries in NSW each year - which would be a significant and welcome reduction to the road toll.

That said, there is still much work to be done and Blue Datto is as committed as always to playing its part in preventing crashes through community education.

**Stats current as of November 24th