Road toll masks concern over serious injuries
The peak national motoring body, the Australian Automobile Association (AAA), says preventing serious injuries in crashes is the emerging road safety priority following a decline in the number of fatalities in 2013.
"There was an encouraging reduction in the road toll but this does not mean that road safety no longer requires attention," AAA Chief Executive Andrew McKellar said.
The national road toll for 2013 was 1,193 – 110 fewer lives lost compared with 2012.
"A focus on fatalities can mask a much larger, underlying problem of serious injuries," Mr McKellar said.
The National Road Safety Strategy estimates there are 32,500 serious injuries per year.
"This is an enormous amount of trauma, pain and suffering endured by families but, at present, governments across Australia can't even accurately count the number of serious injuries," he said.
"An accurate measure is critical to determining ways to address the number of serious injuries," Mr McKellar said.
Analysis by the AAA in the latest Benchmarking the Performance of the National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS) also shows if all jurisdictions were able to achieve the Victorian fatality rate of 4.24 per 100,000 population then more than 220 lives could have been saved in 2013 including 74 in Queensland and 54 in Western Australia.