Regional WA drivers more likely to have risky road behaviour

Regional West Australian drivers have admitted to higher numbers of risky road behaviour compared to their city counterparts, according to research by the Australian Road Safety Foundation.

The research, released in the lead up to Fatality Free Friday on May 31, revealed having children in the car was not a deterrent for the region's drivers taking risks on the road.

More than half of regional West Australian parents admitted to breaking road laws or undertaking risky behaviour when their own children are in the car - the highest in the country - compared to one third of Perth drivers.

Additionally, one quarter of the region's parents admit to taking the same risks when driving a vehicle occupied by someone else's children.

Almost half of regional West Australian drivers admitted to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol - the highest in the country - while one in five admitted to speeding on a regular basis.

As of May 15, 36 people have lost their lives on regional WA roads - with 30 killed in the metropolitan area.

Australian Road Safety Foundation chief executive Russell White said the research is just the tip of the iceberg, with risky road behaviour, for parents and non-parents alike, continuing to climb when driving solo.

"While parents are most guilty of bad behaviour with children in the car, the majority of rural drivers seem to believe it is acceptable to take even greater risks if it's just themselves in the car," Mr White said.

"The research shows that when we're driving alone, the likelihood of taking a risk increases by roughly 20 per cent, with men more likely than women to take risks on the road.

"However, the stark reality is that any time you take a risk behind the wheel, you are putting the lives of every motorist, passenger, cyclist and pedestrian around you at risk.

"It's imperative we stamp out the idea that it's just drivers who suffer the consequences of road risk taking. There's no room for complacency and all lives must be top of mind for road users."

Mr White called on individuals to make a Fatality Free Friday pledge to always be fit to drive, stay focused on the road, scan the road ahead, keep a safe distance and drive to suit the conditions.

Road users can #ChooseRoadSafety and demonstrate their commitment to reducing the nation's road toll by taking the pledge at www.arsf.com.au/take-the-pledge/.