Three parts of Queensland’s Pacific Motorway have been ranked among the 10 most dangerous stretches of highway in Australia.
The Australian Automobile Association released its Australian road assessment program report on Wednesday, pinpointing the locations of crashes that led to 15,339 casualties and more than 900 deaths on Australian highways between 2010 and 2014.
Nine of the 10 most dangerous hot spots were concentrated in three states: New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania. Queensland highways accounted for four of the 10 worst.
Three parts of the Pacific motorway – between the Gateway and Logan motorways, the Smith Street Freeway and NSW border, and the Logan Motorway and Smith Street Freeway – were ranked as the fourth, sixth and eighth most dangerous respectively.
There were 23 deaths across the three sections of the motorway between 2010 and 2014, said an RACQ spokesman, Paul Turner.
“The number of people dying on the Pacific Motorway is truly frightening and we need the federal and state governments to deliver the upgrades needed to reduce this statistic,” he said.
“We desperately need safety improvements on this motorway between the Gateway Motorway and the NSW border, including funding for eight lanes in the northern section and six lanes in the southern section.”
A 24km section of Sydney’s Western Motorway, between Concord and the M7, was rated as the country’s worst stretch of road. The Western Motorway was the site of 788 casualty crashes and six deaths between 2010 and 2014, when it carried an average of 94,050 cars a day.
NSW’s Hume Highway between Campbelltown and Casula was ranked the third most dangerous. Seven people were killed and 726 injured on the 45km section of highway.
Tasmania’s Bass Highway, East Tamar Highway and Midland Highway were all named in the top 10. A seven-kilometre stretch of the Bass Highway was deemed the second most dangerous in the country, recording 67 casualty crashes and one death, despite carrying a relatively low volume of 14,700 vehicles a day.
The AAA released the crash data before the busy Christmas holiday period on Australia’s roads, creating an interactive map and linking the data with electorates to put pressure on politicians. The report comes after successive increases to the road toll in the past two years, bucking a long-term trend of improvement.
The toll climbed from 1,065 in the year to November 2014 to 1,110 the following year and 1,185 in 2016, according to the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics.
The AAA’s chief executive, Michael Bradley, said the highways report should put pressure on governments to better target investments in road safety.
“Australia’s motoring clubs are calling on all governments to make targeted, effective investments in road safety and we urge them to use our statistically based analysis to help make those investments,” Bradley said.
An NRMA spokesman, Peter Khoury, said Sydney drivers shouldn’t be disheartened by the report. He said upgrades were under way for a number of NSW roads including the Pacific Highway, the Western Motorway and the Great Western Highway.
“The Pacific Highway upgrade will be completed in the next three years and anyone who drives a car in Sydney knows how crucial WestConnex will be to solving the traffic crisis on Parramatta Road and the M4/Western Motorway,” Khoury said.