Roads Claim 5 Lives a Day
If there is one simple truth in the 2004 Election campaign it is that people will continue to be killed on our roads. In the next six weeks 188 people will die on Australia’s roads - 5 every day. Over 2600 will be seriously injured in car crashes continuing the strain on our hospital system.
These telling statistics are part of a submission lodged today by the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) to all major political parties in the lead up to the October 9 Election.
The Executive Director of the AAA, Mr Lauchlan McIntosh, today called on all political parties to give national leadership to improving road safety. “The costs of road crashes to the community are enormously high yet we as a nation have failed to place road safety as a key public policy issue”, said Mr McIntosh.
“The AAA submission outlines a number of initiatives designed to raise the policy profile of road safety. Saving lives on Australia’s roads is not just a transport issue. It has implications for the Health Portfolio, Workplace Relations, Industry Policy, Regional Development, Justice, Occupational Health and Safety as well as Transport.
“We should not accept the death and injury of thousands of Australians every year on our roads. Political parties have been active in developing policies to prevent the economic and social costs in areas such as terrorism, obesity, domestic violence and a raft of other “preventable” health and social issues.
The AAA submission also focuses on investment in Australia’s road infrastructure. 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.
There is a large backlog of viable road projects across Australia. AAA research places the value of economically viable unfunded road projects in Australia at over $10 billion, with benefit cost ratios of up to 5:1 for many of these projects.
AAA is a successful strategic alliance between its individual constituent motoring clubs. Approximately 6.4 million motorists are represented through the State and Territory motoring clubs and associations.
AAA on behalf of its constituents is seeking commitments from all political parties on the full range of issues raised in its submission. The Motoring Clubs will communicate all responses to their members during the course of the campaign.
A copy of the AAA submission is available at www.aaa.asn.au/submis/2004/2004_Election_Submission.pdf.