New data reveals drivers are willing to take risks behind the wheel even when they have their children in the car.
New data reveals drivers are willing to take risks behind the wheel even when they have their children in the car. Adene Sanchez

Regional drivers admit to taking risks with kids in car

SOBERING new road death toll data is fuelling a campaign calling for regional drivers to take extra care on the roads.

According to the Australian Road Safety Foundation, road trauma is the number one killer of children aged 14 and under, and the second-highest killer of young people under the age of 24.

Research by the foundation also reveals that having children in the car is not deterring people from driving recklessly.

The data shows that one third of regional parents admit to driving riskily with their children in the car, and 1 in 10 regional parents take the same road risks while driving other people's kids.

One quarter of drivers also admitted to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol on regional roads.

The Australian Road Safety Foundation claims this new research reveals dangerous behaviours of drivers in regional Queensland, and the need for further road safety education.

The research has been released ahead of Fatality Free Friday on May 31, an initiative aimed at minimising the road toll.

Australian Road Safety Foundation founder and CEO Russell White believes drivers are becoming too complacent and should see risky driving as dangerous behaviour.

"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.

"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."

Mr White said when people drove alone, research shows the likelihood of them taking a risk increases by 16 per cent, and men are more likely than women to take risks behind the wheel.

"It's imperative we stamp out the idea that it's just drivers who suffer the consequences of road risk taking," he said.

"There's no room for complacency and all lives must be top of mind for road users."

If you want to take the pledge for road safety, visit the Australian Road Safety Foundation website.