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NRMA road safety trust awards $700,000 in final round of funding

The NRMA ACT road safety trust has awarded almost $700,000 in its final release of funding for road safety projects in the territory.

Trust chairman Professor Don Aitkin said he was confident that the 13 separate projects would improve safety and knowledge in the ACT. 

"They are all interesting projects but the important difference is this is the last time the grants will be handed out,  as the trust is being abolished," he said.

"The trust has been running for 23 years now and those connected with it are sad it is going, but it has done a great deal of good work."

The NRMA-ACT road safety trust was founded in 1992 and funded by a $2 levy included in vehicle registration costs in the territory, which was matched dollar-for-dollar by NRMA.

A new fund will replace the NRMA trust on July 1,  with motorists charged an extra 50 cents as part of a road safety contribution in their registration payments.

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Almost $100,000 of funding will go towards an ANU led program by Professor Kaarin Anstey to improve the skills of older drivers and assess the viability of tailored driving lessons.

Another $100,000 will be spent on the first Australian study using coronial data to investigate ACT road fatalities between 2000 and 2014.

"There a beauty of a project from Yass where road safety officer Melissa Waters is trying to get Canberra drivers to recognise gravel roads are not what they used to be," Professor Aitkin said.

The $105,00 project will educate young ACT drivers about the dangers of driving on gravel roads around the Yass Valley, Goulburn and Queanbeyan regions.

"When I was a kid I grew up in the bush and almost all roads were gravel so I was taught to slow right down for corners," Professor Aitkin said.

"That's not part of contemporary road teaching in Canberra anymore."

A further $48,000 will allow Dr Tri​cia Brown from the University of Canberra to examine the risks of texting and drinking for young adults while driving in Canberra.

"It's the last bundle of funding available which is sad news,  but it's also good we're awarding it to such excellent projects," Professor Aitkin said.

"We should also remember that the ACT has the lowest deaths and lowest injury rate on roads in the whole of Australia."