AAA Responds to National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020 Draft for Consultation
Australia’s peak motoring body has submitted its response to the NRSS 2011-20 consultation draft and has urged the Federal Government to be more ambitious in its efforts to reduce Australia’s road toll.
Mike Harris, Chief Executive of the Australian Automobile Association (AAA), said today AAA was concerned the draft National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS) 2011-20 had only set a target of 30 per cent reduction in road fatalities and serious injuries over the next decade.
Mr Harris said the AAA would prefer a target of 50 per cent, in line with that set by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), in its call for a global Decade of Action for Road Safety.
The AAA also called for increased infrastructure funding, with Mr Harris stating that lack of road funding was a key reason the 40 per cent reduction target in the previous 10-year strategy was not reached. “Increased road funding is critical in achieving any target in the new strategy.”
“The AAA recognises that the new NRSS will be very important in helping to reduce the number of deaths and injuries on Australia’s roads over the next 10 years,’ Mr Harris said.
“It is disappointing that the Federal Government has suggested a target which is lower than the 40 per cent target in the last NRSS, particularly as Australia has been slipping among OECD nations in regard to fatality rates. “This is difficult to justify.”
Mr Harris said that while the draft contained many worthwhile initiatives, AAA did not support a total ban on hands-free mobile phone use by drivers or reducing the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit to 0.02 for all drivers.
AAA was also concerned that the draft NRSS placed an over-reliance on reducing speed limits to achieve the fatality and injury reduction targets.
“We acknowledge that speed limits must be suited to the particular road, but improving infrastructure should always be the preferred option to lowering speed limits,” Mr Harris said.
Mr Harris said the AAA supported systematically assessing risk levels for the highest volume roads and prioritising sections for safety improvement. AAA recommended that the Australian Road Assessment Program (AusRAP) methodology be used for this purpose. AusRAP provides transparent and independent star rating of roads.