02 May 2016
A dramatic 11 per cent jump in the annual road toll shows Australia is going the wrong way on road safety and demands the Australian Government redouble efforts aimed at keeping people safe on the roads, according to RACV and the Australian Automobile Association (AAA).
The AAA’s Benchmarking the Performance of the National Road Safety Strategy report shows 1,255 Australians were killed on our roads in the year to March 2016, up more than 11 per cent from 1,129 in the year ending March 2015.
Victorian numbers are no better than the national figures. In the past 12 months Victoria has recorded 267 deaths, compared to 243 deaths in the same period in 2015. This is a 9.9 per cent increase on a year earlier.
RACV General Manager Public Policy, Brian Negus said the terrible result should focus the Federal Government’s attention on road safety as it prepares its 2016 Budget.
“Whilst road safety is a responsibility for individuals, governments must also play a role and find new ways to fund safer roads and safety programs.
“The shocking road toll figures underscore the importance of continuing and improving long-standing federal programs such as keys2drive, AusRAP and the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).
“Preliminary findings of research by the University of NSW show participants in the Government’s learner driver program keys2drive are 40 per cent less likely to be involved in a crash that causes moderate to serious injury in their first six months on P-plates.
“The program is currently unfunded beyond June 30, even though continued funding of $20 million would save the Australian economy around $40 million in road crash costs over the next four years,” Mr Negus said.
AusRAP assesses the safety of selected major highways, and RACV wants the State and Federal Governments to commit to a four year program of safety upgrades to eliminate the 1 and 2-star sections of these highways.
RACV estimates that this will cost $580 million and would save at least 2,800 people from serious injury or death on these roads over the next 20 years.
The AAA’s Benchmarking the Performance of the National Road Safety Strategy report tracks progress against the National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS) target of reducing road deaths by 30 per cent by 2020.
All Australian governments committed to this strategy in 2011 and the latest figures show Australia is no longer on track to meet the objectives agreed.
The report shows that compared to the previous 12 months, in the year to March 2016 there were:
• 589 drivers killed (up 13.7 per cent from 518) and 240 passengers killed (up 9.1 per cent from 220);
• 223 motorcyclists killed, an increase of 13.8 per cent from 196;
• 165 pedestrians killed, a increase of 7.8 per cent from 153; and
• 35 cyclists killed, a decrease from 39 over the previous 12 months.
To see the full Benchmarking report visit www.aaa.asn.au