There are major calls for women to speak up and criticise their male partners’ dangerous driving after a study revealed that men are the deadliest drivers on New South Wales’ roads.
According to the Centre for Road Safety’s latest toll figures, the number of female passengers who have died in road tragedies has increased by 72 per cent between 2016-17, from 25 deaths to 43.
Meanwhile, of the 515 drivers involved in fatal crashes in NSW last year, 408 of them (80 per cent) were men.
Now, a study by the government body – first carried out in 2016 – has found many men “overestimate their driving skills”, with some believing they can take risks because their experience will ensure they remain safe.
However, of those men, many were more likely to drive safely if they had loved ones in the car, with 88 per cent saying that the idea of killing someone was a strong motivation to drive safely.
Following the alarming results, the Centre for Road Safety has urged women to speak out – describing them as “influencers” who have the ability to stop or at least alter men’s risky driving behaviour. They added that women actually have a powerful role to play in tackling the road toll.
While countless women across the country speak openly to their partners or male friends about their risky driving and aren’t afraid to criticise them, a separate series of focus groups involving country residents specifically found many more are too scared to speak out at all.
The groups involved around 500 women in rural parts of NSW last year, and anecdotally found many country women were afraid to call out risky driving because of how the man could react.
Following the results, NSW Roads Minister Melinda Pavey has sparked outrage by calling on wives, girlfriends and partners to speak up and help stop their male partners’ bad driving.
“It is time to speak up or get out of the car. It is better to be alive than save face by staying silent,” she told the Daily Telegraph.
The NSW Roads Minister has urged wives & girlfriends of dangerous drivers to speak up to save lives.
— Studio 10 (@Studio10au) August 14, 2018
Her comments unsurprisingly didn’t go down well with everyone, and leading the charge was the Studio 10 panel on Tuesday, with host Sarah Harris insisting it’s offensive to women to declare them responsible for men’s driving skills.
“I am taking issue with the Roads Minister saying that it’s up to the wives and girlfriends of these idiot drivers to speak up and save lives, what’s it got to do with us? Maybe the idiot behind the wheel should slow down, don’t put the blame back on the woman sitting next to him.”
Denise Drysdale added: “We’re talking about middle-aged guys. Wake up to yourselves.”