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Road Safety Research Program

About the program

Road Safety is a national crisis.

Every month, about 100 Australians die on our roads. Every day, about 100 people are hospitalised for road crash related injuries.

The Australian Automobile Association, representing Australia’s motoring clubs, has established the AAA Road Safety Research Program to help make our roads safer and reduce fatalities and injuries.

The new program will collaboratively engage with a wide range of stakeholders who are interested in improving road safety and are working to address some of Australia’s most critical road safety issues.

The AAA Road Safety Research Program will support research and translation activities that deliver practical benefits for road users and the community. The Program will fund road safety projects in identified priority research areas that have a strong potential to prevent road fatalities and injuries on Australian roads.

To register your interest in the Program or share a potential idea for research, use the form below.

The Forum

Each year the AAA will convene a face-to-face stakeholder forum. These forums will be invitation-only and bring together key stakeholders and experts in the identified annual priority road safety research area. The goal is to identify the most appropriate road safety research topics and provide experts with an avenue to discuss potential ideas (including any potential limitations).

The inaugural forum, focused on Fatigued Driving, was held on the 25th of November 2019 in Sydney. The forum was attended by industry, state and federal government, emergency services, road safety experts and academe. The forum enabled participants to have in-depth discussions and form collaborations which resulted in the development of several well considered areas for research into fatigued driving.

View a full summary of the Forum findings 

The forum focused on five key themes that had emerged from the extensive AAA stakeholder consultations held prior to the forum.

The 5 Key Research themes

  • legal and regulatory frameworks
  • human factors
  • vehicles
  • technology and infrastructure; and
  • data and meta-analysis.

Research cycles

Each research cycle of the AAA Road Safety Research Program will run over a 15-18 month period.

The first cycle will focus on the theme of fatigued driving (see below).

Each cycle will begin with a process to identify a specific road safety challenge.

This process will be undertaken by:

  • requesting interested stakeholders to identify key road safety challenges that should be a priority and research concepts that will help tackle these challenges
  • hosting an annual forum involving road safety stakeholders, as well as experts and groups with an interest in the Program’s research cycle theme, to further develop research concepts
  • selecting a short list of research priorities by the AAA Board that will proceed to second stage, which will involve scoping and costing project/s that will deliver on agreed priorities

For more details, see the Assessment Framework and General Terms & Conditions below.

Key dates

31 JANUARY 2020

Research concept submissions close

Research Priority 2019/20

The priority research topic for the inaugural cycle of the AAA Road Safety Research Program is fatigued driving.

Fatigue is a major cause of road crashes and related injuries and fatalities worldwide. It is believed that 20 to 30 per cent of all car crashes in Australia are attributable to fatigue.

Research indicates that the need for transport managers to understand and tackle fatigued driving is greater than ever.

Fatigue is a more complex concept than just being “sleepy”. While the effects of sleep (or lack of) are a key component, fatigue is a more expansive concept that can be influenced by a person’s rest and sleep habits and cycles, their physiological and psychological traits as well as their environmental conditions.

Fatigue can reduce attentiveness, slow a driver’s reaction times and affect judgement – all of which can result in catastrophic consequences. In fact, research has shown after 17-19 hours without sleep, driver performance is equivalent to or worse than that of a driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.05 per cent. If a driver falls asleep for just 4 seconds while travelling at 100 km/h, the car will have travelled 111 meters without driver control.

Addressing fatigued driving is a major challenge when considering road safety. Fatigue can affect all types and levels of drivers and fatigue-related crashes can happen on any trip – no matter how long or short the trip is or what time of day it is. The AAA Road Safety Research Program will use quality research and translation activities, to better understand fatigued driving and develop effective ways to address this problem.

How you can get involved

Through the AAA Road Safety Research Program, the AAA and Australia’s motoring clubs are interested in hearing people’s views on the most pressing road safety challenges and potential ideas for research (research concepts) that can help solve these challenges and make significant improvements in our nation’s road safety.

We encourage individuals and organisations with an interest in improving road safety to have their say and participate in the AAA Road Safety Research Program. If you have a particular road safety challenge you are passionate about solving through innovative or applied research, we want to hear from you, regardless of your area of expertise, or the sector you work in.