The Australian Automobile Association – Australia's peak motoring organisation - today called for greater action to bring down road deaths in 2007.
In 2006, there were 1605 road deaths.
AAA Executive Director, John Metcalfe, said that, despite the slight decline in road deaths last year, Australia has fallen well behind the National Road Safety Strategy which aims for a 40% reduction in the fatality rate over the decade to 2010.
"In fact, since January 2005, the national road fatality rate has trended upwards," Mr Metcalfe said.
"For whatever reason, the community appears desensitised to the fact that five people die every day on our roads. Five people dying on our roads every day is a national tragedy.
"We are very supportive of Federal Roads Minister Jim Lloyd's acknowledgement that the rate of improvement at a national level is inadequate, and his challenge to the States and Territories to lift their game."
By December 2006, the national road fatality rate was 7.8 deaths per 100,000 population – well behind the December 2006 target of 6.9 deaths per 100,000 population.
To achieve the December 2006 target rate, the number of deaths in 2006 would need to have been 1,411 – 194 fewer than the actual number of 1,605 deaths.
Road fatality rates and target rates for December 2006 are shown below for Australia and each State and Territory.
|Road deaths per 100,000 population||NSW||VIC||QLD||SA||WA||TAS||NT||ACT||AUST|
|NRSS target (pro rata basis)||6.8||6.3||6.6||8.1||8.3||6.7||19.2||4.2||6.9|
Of the 194 extra lives that could have been saved if the 2006 target were met, around half – or 97 lives – could have been saved by upgrading roads.
To address the road safety problem, AAA in its recent Budget submission called on the Federal Government to:
- Double blackspot funding to $400m over four years.
- Introduce a network road safety program that targets sections of the national network which the Australian Road Assessment Program (AusRAP) has identified as rating poorly. $400m over four years needs to be invested.
- Introduce a specific regional road safety upgrade element to the roads to recovery program, funded at $100m over four years.
Under AAA's AusRAP assessment of the national AusLink network – which provides star ratings for around 18,000km of the AusLink national network– more than 50% of the roads were rated three stars or less out of five.
"AAA and the motoring clubs, which represent six million members and all Australian motorists, consider three stars or less to be not good enough," Mr Metcalfe said.
"These AusRAP star ratings enable AAA to identify sections of the network which have high run-off road crash risk, head-on crash risk and/or intersection crash risk.
"Now is the time to address the problem roads and black spots identified through AusRAP and provide the necessary funds for these high risk crash areas."
Please refer graph below re: the road fatality rate against the predicted target under the National Road Safety Strategy.