At 43 deaths per million residents, Australia’s road toll is higher than that of 10 European countries, and the longer term picture gives us more to worry about.
At 43 deaths per million residents, Australia’s road toll is higher than that of 10 European countries. It is well above Sweden, which has the lowest fatality rate in Europe (25), and second placed United Kingdom, which suffers 28 deaths per million people.
According to an article in Britain’s Daily Mail, eastern European countries performed worst among the 28 members of the European Union, with Romania coming last at an appalling 99 deaths per million.
Figures released yesterday by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics show Australia’s fatality rate per million to be somewhat better than the European Union average of 49.
But the longer term picture shows Australia in an unflattering light.
The newspaper cites a new report from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, which points out that the EU more than halved its road deaths between 2001 and 2017. By contrast, Australia reduced its fatalities by 30% over the same time period.
Moreover, as highlighted by the AAA’s quarterly benchmarking report, Australia has only reduced its road toll by 19.1% against the benchmark set by the National Road Safety Strategy when it began in 2011 – well below the agreed target.
The Daily Mail article also lists a number of new technologies being adopted by Europe, including requiring features for new cars such as speed limiters, driver drowsiness and distraction alert systems, reversing sensors or parking cameras, lane-keeping assistance and advanced emergency braking.
Is it time for Australia to consider the same?
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Unsurprisingly, with many roads and highways carrying fewer vehicles during the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia recorded a welcome and sharp 14.6 per cent decrease in road fatalities in the June quarter. But even with this decline, Australia is not on track to meet its national road trauma targets by December this year.read more
The role of states and territories in road safety is very well understood. They license drivers, they register cars, they build and own roads. It’s their police forces that enforce their respective road rules and it’s their hospitals that deal with the 100 Australians who suffer road trauma each day.read more