Government inquiry needed as road safety strategy stalls

Posted at January 25, 2017 1:46 am by Tim McLaren

Australia‘s peak motoring body is calling on the Australian Government to fund an inquiry into Australia‘s rapidly growing road toll as new figures show almost no progress has been made in reducing deaths since the National Road Safety Strategy was agreed by all Australian governments in 2011.

The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) has released its Benchmarking the performance of the National Road Safety Strategy report, which tracks progress against the strategy‘s target of reducing road deaths by at least 30 per cent by 2020.

The new report finds no real progress has been made since the strategy was agreed more than five years ago. In 2016, 1300 people were killed on Australian roads, 95 more than 2015 and an increase of 7.9% increase.

In addition to those killed about 625 Australians a week suffer life changing injuries on our roads. Besides the human cost, road trauma costs our economy around $34 billion every year.

Vehicles and roads have never been safer, yet the road death toll is climbing.

We need to understand why 40 years of improvement is being so dramatically reversed. A national inquiry will be an important first step in getting to the root causes of the problem and helping to identify effective solutions that will save lives.

As part of its pre-budget submission provided to the Federal Treasury, the AAA also calls for the following safety related funding:

  • continued funding for the Government‘s keys2drive program, which delivers a free lesson with a professional driving instructor to learners and their supervising driver. There is currently no Government funding beyond 30 June 2017.
  • continued funding for ANCAP, which provides consumers with vehicle safety ratings. There is currently no Government funding beyond 2017-18.
  • removal of remaining tariffs and car taxes designed to protect the Australian automotive sector; a move that would greatly enhance the affordability of newer, safer vehicles; and,
  • a requirement for all governments to use risk assessment tools such as AusRAP to prioritise investment and incorporate safety improvements as part of infrastructure upgrades.

 

image from iStock.com/olaser