Australia’s failing National Road Safety Strategy

A renewed focus on road safety

Car accident on a country highway

There needs to be more government action to save lives and reduce injuries on Victoria’s roads. Fatalities on our roads have increased by close to 42 per cent year to date, bringing the number of lives lost to 75 in the first three months of this year. 

The RACV was pleased with the Coalition’s announcement of $2.2 billion funding aimed at road safety enhancements and heavy vehicle initiatives, as well as the establishment of a federal Office of Road Safety. However, an announcement is insufficient when it comes to lives on Australia’s roads. 

The Inquiry into the National Road Safety Strategy delivered its findings more than six months ago, with recommendations including more federal leadership in road safety, road infrastructure upgrades and the creation of a National Office of Road Safety. While the recent announcements are a step in the right direction, neither party have indicated how these will be implemented. 

Road crashes impose a heavy burden on families, friends, communities, the health sector, insurers and social services, a burden that is largely avoidable. Deaths on the roads also means injuries too, with each person that died in a crash in 2017, another 30 people were injured. Often these are life-changing injuries, such as paralysis, brain injuries, amputations or loss of sight. Yet Australia still lacks a national system for measuring serious road crash injuries, despite the National Road Safety Strategy specifically targeting a 30 per cent reduction in serious injuries by 2020. 

This demands large-scale action, with RACV urging the government to provide a plan for implementing the 12 recommendations from the Inquiry into the National Road Safety Strategy as a delay in responding to this crisis is costing lives.

To read the recommendations from the Inquiry, visit https://roadsafety.gov.au/nrss/inquiry.aspx. The Co-Chairs into the Inquiry discuss the delayed response in this video.

Learn more about how RACV is making safer roads for regional Victoria.

RACV advocacy projects aim to make Victoria more liveable

Authorised by Bryce Prosser, RACV General Manager Public Policy and Corporate Affairs, 485 Bourke Street, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000