Australian Road Safety Foundation joins forces with Adelaide safety authorities to mark annual initiative
Today, the Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF) officially marked Rural Road Safety Month at Rostrevor College in Adelaide by releasing new research and remembering those who have tragically lost their lives on regional roads this year.
With two thirds of road deaths occurring on regional roads,  the ARSF has conducted research which reveals two in five South Australian drivers admit they are more likely to undertake risky behaviour on rural roads compared to city streets or highways. 
As a reminder of the fatal consequences when taking risks behind the wheel, 42 yellow flowers were placed onto a memorial wall to represent the number of lives already lost on South Australian regional roads this year.
The solemn installation comes as the research shows that speed is the number one dangerous driving act that all South Australian drivers were prepared to risk on rural roads, while drug driving, speeding and not wearing a seatbelt were the top behaviours found to most likely impact the state’s rural drivers.
ARSF founder and CEO Russell White said every South Australian driver, whether city or regional based, must take ownership of their role in reducing the rural road toll.
“Despite smaller population numbers, 42 people have already lost their lives on the state’s regional roads this year, which shows that just one dangerous choice can have dire consequences,” Mr White said.
“When it came to reasons for increasing risky behaviour on rural roads, lack of witnesses was the most common response amongst South Australian drivers, and it was most prevalent amongst metro residents.
“The research also tells us that on rural roads, both city and local drivers are more concerned with doing harm to themselves, rather than being cognisant of potentially causing harm to others.”
The ARSF research also highlights that there are dangers beyond the driver’s seat that are creating added risk in rural areas. In fact, regional residents are more likely to ride bicycles and scooters without a helmet, as well as ride them after a few drinks.
Surprisingly, the data also reveals that it’s regional South Australians who wrongly believe that rural roads are safer than city streets and motorways.
Running from August 1 to 31, Rural Road Safety Month is a community-based awareness initiative that calls on everyday road users to jump in the driver’s seat of regional road safety.
The Suncorp Group, including its insurance brands Suncorp, AAMI, GIO and Apia sees firsthand the devastating effects road accidents have on people’s lives, every day, is once again supporting the ARSF this Rural Road Safety Month.
“We are proud of our partnership with the Australian Road Safety Foundation, and hope the people of Australia take the pledge, and live the pledge this Rural Road Safety Month,” Executive Manager South Australia CTP, Allicia Smith said.
“Driving on rural roads can be very different than in the suburbs or capital cities – you need to adapt, be alert and drive to the conditions.
“It doesn’t matter if you live in a rural, regional or remote community, or you’re just driving through, every one of us can make a commitment to drive safer. Please don’t become a statistic this Rural Road Safety Month.”
The ARSF also recently developed and launched Roadset – a national road safety program designed to deliver a new standard of education for young people prior to obtaining a learner’s permit.
RoadSet is a free online interactive learning experience and education tool aimed at Year 9 students, designed to help young people become better road users – making Australian roads safer for everyone.
The innovative program combines original animation with gamified interactions to deliver immersive, engaging content across 10 easy-to-digest modules, which are supported by additional curriculum-aligned resources.
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|About Australian Road Safety Foundation:
The Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF) is a not for profit organisation dedicated to improving road safety awareness, enhancing driver education and reducing the impact of road trauma. The Foundation strives to improve road safety outcomes, develop research and education programs and work to inform policy makers on methods to address road safety issues. It also provides an umbrella organisation for other road safety programs and community groups. ARSF is helping to develop a sustainable strategy for reducing the social and economic costs of road crashes, as well as providing a platform for future research and advocacy programs.
1] BITRE Road Deaths Database, 2020 calendar year
 Research conducted by Pure Profile on behalf of the Australian Road Safety Foundation, April 2020, n=1001 nationally representative by gender, age and location of Australian drivers aged 18 years and over