Road safety has definitely been a point of contention in recent years so it is positive to report the substantial improvement over the last 12 months in particular.
The road toll statistics were recently released by Transport NSW and highlight a strong decrease in the number of deaths across the state. However, although authorities are buoyed by the figures, there are still several areas that can be targeted in the new year.
Improvement in the road toll
Provisional road toll figures for 2014 show 309 people died on NSW roads - marking the equal lowest total since 1923. Compared to 2013, this is 24 fewer fatalities.
Taking into account the substantial efforts of state authorities, Minister for Roads and Freight Duncan Gay described the result as "encouraging".
"When you think our population has grown by more than five million since 1923 and there are now about 4.8 million more vehicles on our roads, it shows how significant this reduction is," he said in a January 5 media statement.
Mr Gay did state, though, that the result was 309 people too many.
"Thinking about the trauma experienced by people who have lost a loved one on our roads is a strong reminder we must all do our bit to stay safe," he explained.
Transport NSW also released a number of other important milestones achieved over the last 12 months.
According to statistics, there were 43 passenger deaths recorded in 2014. This marks the lowest total since the category was recognised in 1939. In addition, the 41 pedestrian fatalities noted last year is the fewest since 1928.
With the spotlight on younger drivers more evident in 2014, young adult fatalities (17-25 years) fell 9 per cent while deadly road accidents involving P plate drivers dropped a staggering 35 per cent.
Centre for Road Safety General Manager Marg Prendergast described the results overall as pleasing, but singled out some statistics that will need to be addressed this year.
"We saw an increase in the number of people killed because they weren't wearing a seatbelt, with 29 fatalities compared to 20 in the previous year," she said in the media statement.
"We also saw an increase in the number of older drivers and riders aged 70 years or more involved in fatal crashes, with 55 in 2014, up by 16 on the 2013 result."
Statement for 2015
With the start of a new calendar year comes the opportunity to reset and to earmark some goals for the upcoming 12 months. From a government point-of-view, the focus will be on delivering the more than $280 million invested in the road safety budgets and consolidating existing campaigns, for example on motorcyclists and on level crossing behaviour.
Mr Gay said drivers are an integral part of the process and everyone can do their part.
"It's simple for everyone to reduce their chance of being in a crash - stick to the speed limit, wear a seatbelt, get your hand off your mobile phone when driving and have a Plan B if you're drinking," he said.
"Let's work together this year and ensure NSW has one of the best road safety cultures in the world."
The NSW road toll for 2015 is already 17 per cent higher than 2014 so this is a message that needs to sink in sooner rather than later.
As well as driving safely it is important to ensure your vehicle is roadworthy and that your green slip and registration are current. You can check on the expiry of your green slip and registration on this website.