AAA Welcomes the Release of the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020
AAA welcomes the release of the Federal Government's National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS) and its stronger vision for Australia's road safety.
AAA believes the vision outlined in the NRSS, that "No person should be killed or seriously injured on Australian roads", is a major step forward from the draft NRSS and is a significant step in the right direction.
AAA also supports the three principles of the strategy: people make mistakes, there are limits to human physical frailty, and that there should be a 'forgiving' road transport system.
However, AAA is disappointed the government has not adopted a 50 per cent target to reduce fatalities and serious injuries for the coming decade.
AAA had urged the Federal Government to 'lift the bar' by setting a 50 per cent target, which would bring it in line with the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile's target in its global 'Make Roads Safe' campaign.
AAA is pleased that the NRSS recognises the importance of infrastructure investment on roads where mobility is important, but is concerned that there has been no real commitment made to increasing funding to infrastructure development, or to identify the sources of that funding.
Improving the safety of road infrastructure should be the preferred option, rather than relying on reducing speed limits to improve safety.
AAA notes that many of the suggested additions to the strategy made by the AAA on behalf of all Australian motoring clubs have been picked up in the actions, including:
- Assessing crash risk as a means of prioritising investment - although unfortunately AusRAP was not mentioned as a means to achieve this.
- The use of Intelligent Speed Adaption for recidivist speeders.
- Mandating safety technology for new vehicles.
- Extending the use of ANCAP testing to a wider range of vehicles, including light commercial.
AAA is also pleased that the notion to examine the scope to ban all hands-free mobile phone use by drivers has been removed from the final strategy, as well as investigation of the scope for local government enforcement powers and speed cameras on local roads. Furthermore, AAA commends the new strategy's recommendation that funds from speed cameras be put back in to road safety, and advocating for adoption of nationally consistent road crash classification definitions and an improved national serious injury database.
However, AAA is disappointed that a number of recommendations were not adopted in the final strategy. These include:
- That the examination of the scope to reduce the legal blood alcohol concentration for all drivers should be removed as a 'Future Step'.
- That a lead agency should be nominated with responsibility for road safety.
- That the degree to which actions in the strategy contribute to reaching the target should be quantified, and specific accountabilities for actions be identified and allocated.
AAA notes the commitment by the Federal Government to continue consultation with motoring clubs on road safety, and commends this given that the motoring clubs jointly represent almost seven million members. AAA looks forward to seeing that the state road safety strategies are in harmony with the national strategy, and for AAA's constituent clubs to work with the state road authorities on these. AAA also looks forward to a detailed action plan to flow on from this strategy.
Every day, around the world, 3,500 people are suddenly and violently killed in road crashes. These crashes are the leading cause of death for young people worldwide. In Australia around 1400 people die each year on our roads, and about 30,000 are seriously injured. AAA believes the new National Road Safety Strategy is a well-considered and worthwhile plan to help address this horrendous loss of life on Australia's roads, and to contribute to the global Decade of Action for Road Safety.