The 24km stretch of Sydney road that is the most dangerous in Australia
A 24-kilometre stretch of Sydney's M4 Western Highway - the site of 788 crashes causing serious injuries and six deaths from 2010 to 2014 - is Australia's most dangerous place to drive.
The busy stretch of highway from Parramatta Road to the spaghetti bowl intersection with the M7 was the most dangerous highway in NSW and Australia, a report that analysed Australian highways finds.
The second worst spot in NSW, and the third in Australia, is the 45- kilometre long stretch of the Hume Highway that runs from the M5 South Western Highway to Narellan Road, Campbelltown.
The results come from a review of nearly 21,000 kilometres of Australian highways by the Australian Road Assessment Program (AusRAP) for the Australian Automobile Association.
It analysed highways by looking at the number of crashes that caused serious injuries, a more accurate indication of their real danger than looking at fatalities alone.
NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury said the report highlighted how much work was still needed to bring Australia's National Highway Network up to an acceptable, safe standard.
"In a year that has seen a horrific increase in the road toll, it is perhaps fitting that this report was released in time for Christmas," Mr Khoury said.
The 10 worst spots in NSW with a risk rating of high included:
1. Western Highway, M4, from Parramatta Road, Concord, to the M7 Westlink, where 788 were badly injured and six people died. It is used by 95,050 vehicles every day.
2. Hume Highway, from South Western Motorway/M5 to Narellan Road, Campbelltown, where 726 were seriously injured and seven died; 40,000 vehicles use this stretch of road every day.
3. Western Motorway, M7 Westlink to Glenbrook, where 235 people were seriously injured and four died.
4. Pacific Motorway, Ballina, to Byron Bay, where 92 were injured and 12 died.
5. Pacific Motorway, Hawkesbury River to Calga Interchange, where 146 were injured, and three died.
6. Great Western Highway, Wellington, to Newell Highway, Dubbo, where 31 were injured and three died
7. Pacific Motorway, Byron Bay, to Yelgun, where 40 were injured and five died.
8. Pacific Highway, Wahroonga, to Brooklyn on the Hawkesbury, where 125 were injured and one died.
9. Federal Highway, Hume Highway to Collector outside Canberra, where 48 were injured and 5 died.
10. Great Western Highway, Orange to Wellington, where 58 were injured and one died.
The report found that, as well as injuries causing distress to families and friends and causing loss of employment, the lifetime health costs average $136,000. A severe injury causing quadriplegia can cost $2.6 million.
The best road in NSW was the Sturt Highway, from Wagga Wagga to Narrandera.
The report coincides with growing concern about the sharp rise in the national road toll, with 1273 Australians killed on our roads in the year to September: an annual increase of 86.
More than 2500 Australians are seriously injured on the road every month.
Australian Automobile Association chief executive Michael Bradley said governments were rightly focused on how to address the worsening road toll.
"This report highlights the areas of highway most in need of further investment in order to save lives," he said.
"Australia's motoring clubs are calling on all governments to make targeted, effective investments in road safety, and we urge them to use our statistically based analysis to help make those investments."
The clubs are urging the public to lobby the government to do more to improve safety.
Members of the public can click on a section of a highway near them, and send a link to rally their local member.
The report examines the 247 sections making up 20,664 kilometres of highway under the National Land Transport Network. It ranks highway sections based on risk, determined from the length of road section, traffic volume and the number of crashes causing casualties.
The story The 24km stretch of Sydney road that is the most dangerous in Australia first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.