Road safety inquiry
Taking a stand on road trauma
There is no silver bullet when it comes to road safety, is which why we must look at the issue holistically in order to find solutions that reduce road trauma.
The Tasmanian Legislative Council's inquiry into our poor road safety record, endorsed in June, is a key part of finding these solutions.
The inquiry will seek to understand what’s causing our high crash numbers and how to reduce fatalities and serious injuries.
Why has this inquiry been called?
This inquiry has been called to address Tasmania's road safety record, particularly our failure to meet National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS) targets. The NRSS 2011-2020 was aimed at reducing both the annual number of road crash fatalities and serious road crash injuries by at least 30% over the 10-year period. We failed to reach both these targets.
In 2011, 24 people lost their lives on our roads, while 272 were seriously injured. In 2020, 36 people died and 284 were seriously injured. On average between 2011 and 2020, 32 people died and 269 were seriously injured on our roads each year.
In fact, as of December, Tasmania had the worst road safety record of any state, with 6.6 deaths per 100,000 people. This is far higher than the best-performing state, Victoria, which has 3.17 deaths per 100,000. If we could match them, we could save 19 lives a year.
However, 2021 is not tracking well, with 20 fatalities and 151 serious injuries on Tasmanian roads as of late July.
How can we fix it?
Because of these statistics, we need to look closely at the way road safety is managed. This includes road infrastructure and funding mechanisms, vehicle safety, the capacities of the State Service and civil construction sector, education to improve road user behaviour, impacts to the health system and the cost of road trauma.
It’s also vital that we consider improved data collection, as well as road safety success stories and research from other states and countries, to help us implement national and international best practice in Tasmania.
We know that our poor road trauma trends have continued despite advances in vehicle design, the hundreds of millions of dollars flowing into Tasmania’s roads, increased avenues for police enforcement, as well as improvements to education programs and campaigns.
And for these reasons, it’s not just governments that must take responsibility for the failure of the NRSS, but our community as a whole. All road users need to accept that taking risks and poor behaviour by some is a recipe for disaster, making crash reduction difficult.
We simply can't continue with the same way of thinking of years gone by and expect to improve road safety in the future. We won’t stand for it.
What will the inquiry involve?
The inquiry will call for submissions from road safety experts, advocacy groups, key stakeholders and the broader community, which will inform public hearings.
Recommendations will then be made by the Legislative Council, which will need to be implemented if we're to see reductions in road trauma. We'll also undertake comprehensive media and community campaigns to drive our message home.
How can I get involved?
We’re calling for help from our members and the broader Tasmanian community by asking for input on how to improve road safety in Tasmania. We’ve also engaged stakeholders to help us work on achieving our common goal.
We'll use all of this information to inform our submission to the inquiry, in the hope that we bring about crucial change.
Keep an eye on your email, our website and social media for how to get involved.
Inquiry timelineMedia launch: 29 June
Inquiry tabled and accepted by Legislative Council: 29 June
Committee appointed: 29 June
Terms of Reference finalised: 13 July
Submissions close: 27 August
Public hearings: TBC