New road markings to help motorists keep a safe distance from the car in front have been recommended by the RAC as part of a crackdown on tailgating.
The markings, known as chevrons, have been successfully tested on English motorways where they reduced rear-end crashes up to 56 per cent.
The RAC recommends a similar trial in Perth where the markings would be introduced with signage that indicates the number of chevrons that drivers should allow between them and the vehicle in front. In its latest mobility bulletin, the RAC said tailgating was a major problem on WA roads that contributed to congestion, irritated and distracted other drivers and, more seriously, increased the chances of rear-end crashes.
It said Main Roads WA crash data indicated three in every four accidents on the Kwinana Freeway, between the Mitchell Freeway and Canning Highway, between 2009 and 2013 were rear-end crashes.
WA's current traffic regulations say that "except when overtaking and passing, the driver of any vehicle shall, when following another vehicle, keep such distance behind it as will enable the driver to stop the vehicle with safety, without running into the vehicle in front of him or her".
The regulations do not stipulate a minimum following distance but it is widely accepted that the gap should be at least two seconds. The bulletin identifies short and long-term options that could discourage tailgating, including advisory signs and regular police enforcement.
It said there was merit in developing and implementing a low-cost trial of regularly spaced carriageway markings.
"While the trial would focus on a priority location, it would also act to raise awareness among drivers of the minimum following distances that should be maintained," the RAC bulletin said.
Road Safety Minister Liza Harvey said the State Government did not support new road markings because it would require "new education for road users".
"The Government doesn't recommend a specific following distance as this would change with speed and other road conditions," she said.
"The two-second rule, which can be judged using existing infrastructure, makes much more sense."