More than three times the number of lives have been lost in crashes on rural New South Wales (NSW) roads when compared to the metropolitan area in 2017, prompting NSW Police to reiterate the risks of driving in country areas.

Provisional crash data indicates 201 lives have been lost on NSW roads this year. The rural road death toll is 152, compared to 49 in the Sydney metropolitan area.

“There have been 12 crashes this year resulting in multiple lives being lost in regional areas. This compares to 11 similar crashes for this time last year,” said Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy. “There have been six crashes of this kind within the Sydney metropolitan area.”

The collisions are still being investigated, but Mr Corboy said the likely causes would be speed, people driving while they are tired, driving drunk, under the influence of drugs, not wearing a seat belt or driving distracted.

“These are the risks that continue to be an issue for all road users, and what Police continue to focus on, in the hope that we can change driver behaviour,” he said. “Now is the time for those on our roads to be fully responsible by; sticking to the speed limit, wearing a seat belt, driving to the conditions, being fit and able to drive, and not becoming distracted. By adhering to a few simple steps, road users can help us to drive down the road toll on NSW roads.”