This was a single vehicle accident involving a truck which hit a telegraph pole tearing the cabin open and leaving the male driver partially ejected from the cabin. Picture: Dean Asher, TNV.
This was a single vehicle accident involving a truck which hit a telegraph pole tearing the cabin open and leaving the male driver partially ejected from the cabin. Picture: Dean Asher, TNV.

Women passengers ‘too scared’ to call out bad male driving

WOMEN passengers are too scared to call out risky driving by their husbands and male partners because of how they might react, new research has found.

Road toll statistics show middle-aged men are the deadliest drivers on NSW roads and are involved in more fatal crashes than P-platers or young rev heads.

NSW Roads Minister Melinda Pavey yesterday called for the wives, girlfriends and partners who sit next to male drivers to speak up and save lives.

"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 said.

Last year the number of female passengers killed in road smashes increased by 72 per cent, from 25 to 43.

But a survey of women for the Centre for Road Safety found that many were too scared of the reaction of husbands and partners to criticise their risky driving.

"We need to get the message out to call out bad behaviour," Ms Pavey said.

The CRS backed her call saying that women had the power as "influencers" to change the risky behaviour of male drivers. It said women needed to speak up and tell male drivers to slow down, wear a seatbelt and take the keys if they have had a drink.

Of the 515 drivers involved in fatal crashes in NSW last year 408 were men. The majority of those male drivers were aged between 30 and 49.

NSW Roads Minister Melinda Pavey yesterday called for the wives, girlfriends and partners who sit next to male drivers to speak up and save lives. Picture: Dean Asher, TNV.
NSW Roads Minister Melinda Pavey yesterday called for the wives, girlfriends and partners who sit next to male drivers to speak up and save lives. Picture: Dean Asher, TNV.

The number of driving licences in NSW is almost split down the middle, but anecdotal evidence shows that men are still more likely to get behind the wheel than their female partners. That made it impossible to work out whether males or females were safer behind the wheel.

"I am often more happy for my husband to drive so I can do other things," said Ms Pavey. "I do think there is a protectiveness from males, fathers, husbands, brothers, to be inclined to drive."

Sydney driver Steve Philp, 42, who falls into the middle of the deadly driver demographic, was surprised by the findings that female passengers were too scared to speak up.

"My wife never seems to have a problem pointing out any faults with my driving," he said. As a result he said he and his wife split the driving equally.

"But I am rare among guys where they are still the most likely to get the keys and do the driving."

The CRS survey found male drivers over-estimated their skills and falsely believed their ability and experience meant they could exceed the speed limit.



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