AAA Calls for Increased Black Spot Funding
"The Black Spot road safety program has been one of the most successful Government programs and urgently needs to be continued and expanded", said Mr Lauchlan McIntosh, the Executive Director of the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) today.
There was no new money allocated for the Black Spot program in the Government's 2004 Budget. The Coalition has only allocated $90 million to black spots over two years with no commitment beyond 2005/06.
The ALP has made a welcome commitment to continue the program beyond 2006 but has not indicated the level of funding that will be allocated or released any other details.
"The AAA calls on all parties to commit to an expanded Black Spot program with at least double the current funding. There is overwhelming evidence that this program does make a significant contribution to reducing the number of deaths and injuries on our roads", said Mr McIntosh.
All of the studies and appraisals of this program are in complete agreement:
- The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Transport and Regional Services 2004 report National Road Safety – Eyes on the Road Ahead found that it was one of the most significant contributing factors to the reduced road toll and recommended it to be continued at a higher level of funding.
- In evidence to the House of Representatives Committee the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said "there is unequivocal evidence that the black spots program is very effective in saving lives and there are extremely high benefit to costs ratios"
- The National Road Safety Strategy Action Plan (2003-04) states, "although only a small part of road expenditure, Black Spot programs were estimated to contribute over one-third of the reduction in fatalities from this category."
- An evaluation of the program by the Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics in 2001 found that it has been an outstanding success, preventing 32 fatal crashes and 1,539 serious crashes during the three-year evaluation period and for every dollar spent, there was a social return of $14 in avoided road crash costs.
"Road crashes cost the community $41 million every day making funding the Black Spot program an investment, not a cost.
"It is clear that the Black Spot program should not only be continued, but expanded", said Mr McIntosh.
AAA looks forward to hearing about the future of the Black Spot program from all major parties and has listed it as a major component of its policy submission sent last week to all major political parties in the lead up to the October 9 Election. AAA will be publicly releasing all parties' responses to its submission once received.
A copy of the AAA submission is available on the AAA website.