Call for more resourcing on road safety

Australia must change its road safety management practices in light of a new report showing the National Road Safety Strategy will not meet its 2020 targets.

The latest edition of the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) Benchmarking of the National Road Safety Strategy report shows Tasmania was not on track to meet the strategy's targets to reduce the annual number of fatalities and serious injuries by at least 30% by 2020.

RACT Group CEO Harvey Lennon said in the 12 months ending September 2018, 37 people died on Tasmanian roads compared to 31 deaths in the same period the previous year, an increase of nearly 20%.

"The report also reveals that road deaths per 100,000 head of population in Tasmania are the second-worst in the nation behind the Northern Territory, and well above the national average of 4.87.

"No state is on track to meet the strategy's fatality targets, with 1,213 people dying on Australia's roads in the 12 months to September 2018.

"Further, Australia is not on track to achieve targeted reductions in serious injuries."

Deaths per 100,000 head of population

Per head of population.jpg 

Mr Lennon said the RACT agreed with the recent findings of the independent inquiry into the NRSS – that there needed to be more resourcing from all levels of government and more leadership from the federal government to decrease the incidence of road trauma.

"While the RACT notes that the federal government has begun a road safety governance review as recommended by the inquiry, the other recommendations need to be implemented," he said.

"These include appointing a Cabinet minister with responsibility to address road trauma issues and establishing a national road safety entity."

Mr Lennon said motorists also had a role to play in reducing road trauma, both in Tasmania and nationally.

"Motorists need to actively avoid the fatal five – speed, seat belts, alcohol and drugs, distraction and fatigue – while driving," he said.

Mr Lennon said in addition to addressing the worsening congestion issue, the RACT's independent Greater Hobart Mobility Vision would also address road safety.

"Road safety is of critical importance to the RACT, so any vision document that we will use to advocate on behalf of motorists should include significant reference to road safety factors," he said.

Mr Lennon said improving road infrastructure to increase safety was an important election issue identified by the RACT during last Tasmanian election campaign.

"The Tasmanian Government's announcement this week of funding to improve tourism roads infrastructure is clearly welcomed," he said.

"The State Budget also identified many roads we have flagged previously as needing upgrades to improve safety standards.

"We will keep a watching brief on this work as it is vital our roads are meeting the national safety standards as part of efforts to reduce the road toll."

You can now access the full report on the AAA website here.