Stop being so polite - confront dangerous drivers

Passengers are being urged to have the courage to confront a driver who is affected by substances, distracted or too tired to get behind the wheel.

The plea comes from the grieving parents of children killed in road crashes who stress an awkward conversation could save lives.

The NSW road toll this year has climbed to 338, compared to 270 at the same time in 2022.

Dangerous driving should be considered as unacceptable as domestic violence or one punches, according to Duncan Wakes-Miller whose 17-year-old son Barney died in a collision.

The teenager got in a car with a P-plate driver who'd been drinking and slammed into a wall while driving at more than 30 kilometres above the speed limit.

His father describes it as the "worse decision he ever made" and is on a mission make sure people raise the alarm if something isn't right.

"Parents, I beg you to urge not only your children but your friends and colleagues to have the courage to speak up and refuse to get into a car with a drink-driver," he said.

"Speak up and tell their friends to stop speeding or texting while driving, to step in and stop someone from getting behind the wheel if they are impaired.”

A recent study by Road Trauma Support Group NSW found eight per cent of the more than 2000 respondents thought it was okay to get a lift with someone who shouldn't be driving if that was their only way home - and that increased to 12 per cent for regional residents.

It also found seven per cent of people - and 15 per cent in regional areas - think it's acceptable to drive after drinking.

The new 'speak up and step in' campaign by the support group and the NSW Australian Medical Association aims to encourage people to have the courage to confront an unsafe driver before tragedy strikes.

They urge passengers to speak up if they suspect a driver is too tired, has consumed drugs or excessive alcohol, if they are distracted or driving erratically.

AMA NSW president Michael Bonning said every step must be taken to address the disturbingly high road toll.

“It’s no time to be shy or polite," he said.

"Step in and potentially save not only the life of the driver but the lives of their passengers or those in other vehicles they may intersect with.”

Deputy Liberal leader Sussan Ley is also pleading for people to drive safely.

"The road toll already this year in NSW is absolutely awful," Ms Ley told Sky News on Sunday.

"So it doesn't matter where you are, it doesn't matter if you get there late, but just please slow down and get there safely."

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