Suburban roads worst for serious crashes
Danger zone: City of Stirling mayor Giovanni Italiano at the intersection of Royal Street and Main Road, Osborne Park. Picture: Sharon Smith/The West Australian

A groundbreaking analysis of police, insurance and Main Roads data has detailed the extent and cost of road trauma across WA, revealing that most fatal and serious crashes happen on suburban roads - not major roads, highways or freeways.

The WA Local Government Association has plotted all car crashes across a 10-year period according to council area, the type of vehicle involved, the cause of the accident, the type of crash, the cost and the gender and age of those involved.

Separate mapping data reveals the blackspot locations for each WA council where the most pedestrians, cyclists, motorbike riders and motorists were killed or injured.

WALGA will use the figures to push its case for increased State Government funding, claiming that lives are being put at risk by budget cuts.

The figures revealed that 63 per cent of crashes resulting in death and serious injury happened on local government roads, which make up 88 per cent of the State's road network.

Another 18 per cent occurred at State and local road intersections and 19 per cent happened only on State-managed roads.

Between 2003 and 2012 there were 323,317 crashes in Perth, resulting in 12,688 people being killed or seriously injured.

Inattention was the biggest factor in crashes attended by police. Motorcyclists were involved in 20 per cent of serious and fatal accidents on Perth roads.

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WALGA president Troy Pickard said the figures were alarming, given local roads were managed and funded by councils on "limited budgets".

"Local governments rely on State funding to keep local roads safe for their communities," he said. "A lack of funding for local road upgrades and maintenance sadly puts lives at risk.

"State Government roads receive a lion's share of funding, are afforded a higher profile and are given greater priority by the State Government."

The association says local government roads were allocated $176 million in the 2014-15 State Budget, compared with $988 million for State roads.

Mr Pickard accused the State Government of reneging on an agreement for local roads funding, which he said would result in a loss of $70 million over three years.

He said the State also abandoned a planned $10 million grant for WALGA to establish a regional run-off road crashes program and a $1 million project targeting city intersections.

"The run-off program would have funded a range of effective safety measures for regional roads that have some of the highest rates of people killed or seriously injured in WA," Mr Pickard said.

An analysis of cost according to car repairs, travel delay, insurance, human cost and medical expenses found the total bill from all crashes in WA was $28.37 billion - or $6.8 million per fatal accident - with $15.2 billion of that attributed to local road accidents.

The State Government did not respond to a request for comment.

The West Australian

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