Country people lose their lives on country roads – it’s no myth

Friday 15 October, 2021

South Australians living in regional communities are the target audience of a new road safety campaign that uses seven emotionally charged TV commercials to reveal the horrors of the Fatal Five offences and how they are claiming lives at a tragic rate on the state’s regional roads.

“Out here, there are five things that’ll kill you”. It’s the dire warning from a likeable country bloke who helps deliver the key message in SAPOL’s latest road safety campaign, which goes to air on Sunday night across regional, metropolitan and on demand TV stations.


Road Safety Minister Vincent Tarzia said the campaign (which you can see here) gravitates around one frightening statistic – two in three deaths on country roads are country people.

While only 30% of South Australia’s population lives in rural areas, an alarming 71% (54) of lives lost in 2021 have occurred on regional roads.

“It is shocking how many South Australians have lost their lives in crashes such short distances from their homes in the regions,” Minister Tarzia said.

“The tragic truth is that country people can lose their lives on country roads.

“Driving close to home does not guarantee your safety in the regions, but this crucial new road safety campaign aims to raise awareness about the Fatal Five and urgently change driver behaviour.

“In addition to this new campaign, and since 2018, the Marshall Liberal Government has spent $2.8 billion on regional roads to ensure safer journeys for all motorists.

“Sadly, complacency has crept in for some, but there’s still an opportunity to reverse bad driving habits while saving lives and preventing serious injuries on our roads.

“We ask that every road user stop, listen and digest the confronting content of this new campaign. If just one life is saved, then it has done its job.”

The Fatal Five offences are:

  • Distraction.
  • Drink or drug driving.
  • Not wearing a seatbelt.
  • Speeding.
  • Dangerous driving.

SAPOL Assistant Commissioner Ian Parrott said: “Nearly half of the people who have died on regional roads this year have resided 20km or less from where the collision occurred.”

“We conduct rigorous attitudinal research to inform the messaging and creative execution of every road safety campaign,” AC Parrott said.

“Overwhelmingly the research found that people living in regional areas believe it is metropolitan drivers who die on country roads. The common misconception is that drivers who know the local roads like the back of their hand are less likely to be involved in a fatal crash.

“Our aim with this campaign is to dispel that myth. We need regional road users to understand that they are as susceptible to the fatal five as anyone else.”

The campaign includes 6 x 15-second commercials and 1 x 30-second commercial. The first campaign burst runs until the middle of November 2021, and then returns to market in April 2022.

The campaign will also appear in regional newspapers, on social media and digital platforms, on roadside billboards and in pubs, clubs and roadhouses across the state.