Road Deaths are Preventable
The Executive Director of the Australian Automobile Association (AAA), Mr Lauchlan McIntosh has called on the Commonwealth and States to follow the lead of local governments and take a broader approach to road safety.
Speaking at the Australian Local Government Association's 2004 National Local Roads Congress, Mr McIntosh said that injury and death from road crashes should not be seen by the community or its political leaders as inevitable.
"Today, the word preventable is part of our everyday language. We try to prevent death from heart disease through better health policy, we are investing resources to prevent death from terrorism, and both major political parties have been talking about preventable measures for reducing childhood obesity. It is time to dispel the myth that road crashes are inevitable", McIntosh said.
"Road safety is not just a narrow transport issue, but one that affects all facets of our lives. At the Commonwealth level, Road Safety is not just an issue for the Minister for Transport or the Minister for Roads. The whole of Government should be involved, The Prime Minister, The Health Minister, The Workplace Relations Minister, The Minister for Finance, The Minister for Families and the Minister for Youth Affairs.
Mr McIntosh was speaking about the SaferRoads initiative which brings together the AAA, representing the motoring clubs, the Australian Local Government Association, Australian Trucking Association and Australasian College of Road Safety.
"SaferRoads advocates a systems approach to road safety. For a long time, we have had an unbalanced approach. We have spent a lot of time drilling into motorists the behavioural issues without acknowledging the corresponding need to improve our roads.
"According to the research, fixing the roads has a greater potential to save lives than most people think. The Federal Government's National Road Safety Strategy estimates that by 2010 around 332 lives could be saved each year through improved roads, 175 because of safer vehicles, 158 by better driver behaviour and 35 by the use of new technology.
"You shouldn't die from making a simple mistake on our roads. Our infrastructure needs to be designed with safety at the forefront", Mr McIntosh said.