Time to Provide Leadership on Road Safety
Australia’s tragically high road fatality rate needs concerted national action to develop achievable solutions which can realistically bring down deaths and reduce road trauma.
Australia’s peak motoring body, the Australian Automobile Association, said the 2009 road death and trauma statistics presented a challenge to governments, the newly-established National Road Safety Council, motoring groups and the broader community.
AAA Technical Director, Craig Newland, said the 2009 figures – more than 1,500 fatalities compared to the 2008 figure of 1,464 according to media reports - presented the whole of Australia with an immediate challenge to find ways to bring down the road toll and reduce the economic costs of road trauma, valued at some $17 billion annually.
Mr Newland said the Australian Transport Council needed to move quickly to develop the next 10-year National Road Safety Strategy - the current NRSS ends this year and has fallen short of its original target of reducing road fatalities by 40 per cent.
“The sharp increase in the 2009 road toll is a tragedy which really shows the need for some leadership in recognising the scale of the problem and bringing targeted road safety solutions to reality,” he said.
“But with five people dying every day on Australian roads and 75 hospitalised, the entire community must understand the fact everyone has to contribute to get the fatality rate down.”
Mr Newland said the National Road Safety Council has been tasked with providing advice to the Australian Transport Council, comprising Australia’s Transport Ministers, and facilitating the timely and effective implementation of road safety measures set out in the next National Road Safety Strategy through to 2020.
“Now is the time to pull together the necessary resources to bring about a serious reduction in road fatality and trauma – safer road infrastructure, increased vehicle safety, and safer driver behaviour.
“The United Nations has before it a 10-year global road safety action plan, Make Roads Safe, to operate from 2011 to 2020, and it is increasingly important Australia has such a blueprint to tackle this major killer of Australians.”