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The time for a federal focus on safety is now

7.5.2018

The National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020 (NRSS) is a commitment by all levels of government across Australia to reduce fatalities and serious injuries in Australia by at least 30 per cent by 2020.

With all states in Australia currently failing to meet their fatality reduction targets, it’s clear that many of the NRSS objectives are unlikely to be met.

While the March 2018 quarter results show a slight drop in fatalities from the record high in the December 2017 quarter, the reality is that deaths on Australian roads are increasing. Road safety is not just an issue for our states and the AAA is looking to the Federal Government to take a greater role coordinating a road safety response in tomorrow’s Federal Budget.

The AAA has put forward a number of recommendations in its National Road Safety Platform, including the re-establishment of the Federal Office of Road Safety.

KEY AAA RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Reinstate the Federal Office of Road Safety, which would be responsible for developing and implementing integrated road safety strategies and programs, as well as national road safety research and data collection.
  • Remove tariffs and taxes associated with buying a new car to encourage the uptake of safer vehicles and reduce the age of the vehicle fleet.
  • Establish an incentive payment program to encourage states and territories to take action within the NRSS.
  • Prioritise road safety in infrastructure delivery, and invest in cost-effective safety upgrades
  • Develop a metric for measuring serious injuries caused by road crashes
  • Fund research to benchmark best practice in road safety enforcement to inform future National Road Safety Action Plans


The Federal Office of Road Safety would again be responsible for developing and implementing integrated federal road safety strategies and programs, as well as national road safety research and data collection. AAA analysis shows there is a significant lack of data collection for many of the NRSS safety performance indicators.

For example, Australia has no national system for measuring serious road crash injuries despite the NRSS including the specific performance indicator: “to reduce the annual number of serious road crash injuries by at least 30 per cent”. Without a national measurement in place, it is difficult to monitor progress and evaluate which safety measures need to be given the greatest priority.

A lack of accountability, national leadership and dedicated research, together with an ageing Australian vehicle fleet have significantly impacted the road toll.

Put simply, Australia just cannot continue to take a fragmented approach to road safety. It’s time for a new federal focus on safety.

For more details on AAA road safety funding priorities, see our Pre-budget submission and submission to the NRSS inquiry

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