Australia Lagging on Road Safety Targets
Australia’s peak motoring body, the Australian Automobile Association, today warnedAustraliawas falling well behind the targets set by the Commonwealth’s National Road Safety Strategy.
Commenting on the 2007 national road fatality rate, AAA Executive Director, Mike Harris, said the NRSS targets - which aimed to bring down road deaths by some 40% between 2000 and 2010 - now appeared out of reach.
“In reality,Australiais actually falling behind in its attempts to bring down the death rate,” Mr Harris said.
The NRSS aimed to cut road deaths to 5.6 people per 100,000 of population – but the annual rate of approximately 1600 people represented a fatality rate of 7.8 per 100,000. In 2005, the national toll increased over 2004, and it appears 2007 will be higher than 2006.
“Australiaseems to be going backwards in its efforts to avoid what is a national tragedy,” Mr Harris said.
“The 2007 fatality rate means about five people die on average every day on Australian roads – we seem to have become desensitised to this annual carnage.
“Imagine the outcry if five people died a year in aircraft or rail accidents – if five people died each day, there would be immediate action.
“Alongside the death rate, 75 people are hospitalised daily with serious injury resulting from road trauma – road trauma costs the Australian economy some $17 billion a year.”
Mr Harris said vehicles were now much safer than 10 years ago and governments aroundAustraliaare understanding the importance of road design and maintenance in road safety and saving lives.
“But we still have this incredibly high number of people dying on our roads.”
Mr Harris said AAA and Constituent motoring organisations – the NRMA, RACV, RACQ, RAASA, RACWA, RACT and AANT – called for a greater community profile on the high levels of road fatalities and injuries.
“Something must be done and we as a community need to get together to tackle this national issue,” he said.