People should not die as the result of a road user making a mistake. The design of roads should protect users from hazards, whether those users be are drivers, passengers, riders or pedestrians.
What is RACV doing?
RACV is an active partner in the Australian Road Assessment Program (AusRAP), which is used by all clubs across Australia, co-ordinates by the Australian Automobile Association. AusRAP is dedicated to saving lives through advocating for safer road infrastructure and it is a member of the global International Road Assessment Program; a registered charity dedicated to preventing the more than 3,500 road deaths that occur every day worldwide.
AusRAP produces star ratings and risk assessments for the national rural highway network so that road users and Governments are aware of the riskiest sections of roads. This ensures that you can choose roads based upon their ‘built-in’ level of safety, and drive accordingly. It means governments know where road safety risks are higher and they can investigate and make improvements to the quality of Victoria’s roads.
RACV works to encourage Government to investment in better roads for all road users, whether they be drivers of cars or trucks, riders of motorcycles or bicycles, pedestrians, or public transport passengers. In addition to AusRAP, RACV also participates in forums, committees and meetings, and investigates issues identified by members, to achieve safer roads.
What needs to be done?
It has been estimated that nearly half of the road toll could be saved through better roads. This means roads that have tolerances for errors made by road users.
RACV has assessed 2,885 kilometres of Victoria’s major highway network and classified them from one-star (least safe) to five-stars (most safe). Just two per cent of the Victorian rural highway network achieved the maximum five star rating, with 24 per cent rated at less than three stars.
RACV wants the rural road network upgraded to achieve a minimum AusRAP safety rating of three stars in the short-term and eventually four or five-stars. Newly constructed sections of highway should achieve a safety rating of no less than four stars.
RACV proposes that an investment of approximately $580 million would achieve the minimum three-star standard on Victoria’s major highways saving at least 2,800 people from serious injury or death on these roads over the next 20 years. Simple measures such as safety barriers along the roadside and in the median to prevent run-off-road and head-on crashes, improved skid resistance of road surfaces and rumble strips on highway shoulders and centrelines to reduce run-off-road crashes can save lives and reduce injuries from crashes on our roads.
What can you do?
There are things you can do to help make our roads safer. For example, check the star ratings of Victoria’s roads and plan your trips on those roads accordingly. If the roads are one to three-star then plan for more breaks to avoid fatigue. Be cautious, drive responsibly and stay alert.
On four and five-star roads, you should still take care, but in general you will find higher standards of safety that should make your trip much safer.
If you know someone who is travelling on poor roads then take the time to alert them to the risks and help them plan a safe journey, including where appropriate roadside rest areas are.