Urgent plea on road safety

The Australian Automobile Association (AAA), of which RACT is a member, has supported calls for urgent action on road safety from two of the nation’s leading experts.

​​Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Dr John Crozier co-chaired the Federal Government's inquiry into Australia's failing National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS). Having delivered their report and recommendations to Government more than six months ago, the two have warned lives are being lost due to the delay in responding to the inquiry's findings.

Dr Crozier, a trauma surgeon at Sydney's Liverpool Hospital, and Associate Professor Woolley – Director of the Centre for Automotive Safety Research at the University of Adelaide – said they had been 'underwhelmed' by the Government's response to the inquiry's report.

'The delay is killing us,' Dr Crozier said.

'Each day I see the constant admissions to our major hospitals; that constant drip of seriously injured victims following road injury,' he said.

'We've had no change for six months because we simply haven't acted on the report.'

Associate Professor Woolley said 100 people are being killed on Australian roads every month.

'That six-month delay is costing us 600 lives – and the clock is ticking,' he said.

'We came into this inquiry with the strong belief that the Government was taking this issue seriously and was seeking to make a considerable step-change in its approach.'

AAA CEO Michael Bradley said all sides of politics needed to urgently outline their response to the inquiry's recommendations, which included greater federal road safety leadership, the creation of a National Office of Road Safety; significant increases in road safety funding; and road infrastructure upgrades.

'The AAA strongly endorsed the establishment of the Government's inquiry, because we need to better understand the factors preventing us from meeting such a wide array of critical road safety targets,' Mr Bradley said.

'The inquiry found the Federal Government is responding with neither the scale nor the coordination required to meaningfully address this issue, which costs the Australian economy $30 billion every year.

'The AAA is looking to all sides of our Federal Parliament to make an urgent and serious response to the inquiry's recommendations so we can more effectively save lives on our roads.'

Since this story was published, the Federal Government announced on 29 March that a further $2.2 billion would be committed to road safety initiatives around the country, including a Black Spot Program and local government funding, as well as a $12 million ​Road Safety Innovation Fund and establishing an Office of Road Safety.

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