Safer roads to help fix the road toll, says RACV

RACV says it is disheartening to see the road toll continue to climb in Victoria and nationally, despite the establishment of the National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS) to reduce road deaths and injury by 30 per cent over ten years.

The NRSS was signed by all state governments five years ago but new analysis by the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) has revealed it is running around four years behind in some states, including Victoria.

The AAA report, Benchmarking the Performance of the National Road Safety Strategy shows there were 1,273 fatalities on Australian roads in the year to September 2016, an increase from 1,187 a year earlier.

RACV General Manager Public Policy, Brian Negus said the increase was a major disappointment and the highest priorities must be safer roads and vehicles.

“The rising road toll in Victoria and nationally is unacceptable. Many of the state’s major highways and other country roads are in a very poor condition and motorists deserve better.

“The Victorian Government needs to do more to improve the safety of our roads and to promote the uptake of safer cars, to help reduce the number of people killed and injured in crashes,” Mr Negus said.

Across Australia, four people die each day on the roads and 90 people are seriously injured. In Victoria alone, for the past few years, 200-300 people have been killed and around 6000 seriously injured every year.

The AAA and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons have asked the Federal Government to invest $150,000 a year to fund an Australian Trauma Registry to provide detailed information on severe road crash injuries.

Mr Negus said an Australian Trauma Registry would better target safety efforts.

“To reduce road deaths and injuries we must have a bigger picture of where crashes occur and their severity.”

“There is no national measure of road trauma in Australia. We think around 625 Australians are seriously injured each week but without proper national data, it is impossible to know for sure. It is also not possible to know if the trend is up or down.”

The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons data reveals road trauma costs Australian taxpayers around $27 billion a year, accounting for roughly 18 per cent of health expenditure.

Mr Negus said understanding the cause, and types of injury could assist with injury reduction strategies and help identify improvements for trauma services.

Written by Lynette Keogh, RACV Public Affairs, 9790 2572
October 31, 2016