Decade of Action

The United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 aims to reduce the global deaths and injuries from road crashes. About 1.25 million people die every year on the world's roads and up to 50 million are severely injured making it the 9th leading cause of death worldwide. Approximately 90% of these deaths occur in low to middle income countries. The goal of the Decade is to reduce road traffic fatalities by 50% around the world by 2020.     

The Victorian Government’s Victoria’s Towards Zero Action Plan 2016-2020  outlines a number of initiatives to improve road safety. Increased enforcement, targeted education, adoption of vehicle safety technologies and improvements to the road network have cemented Victoria as a world leader in road safety. This is reflected in the record reduction in fatalities. RACV is tracking the Government's progress with delivering its road safety and transport promises at

TAC have adopted the Towards Zero campaign that is working towards a future free of deaths and serious injuries on our roads.

The National Road Safety Strategy is targeting a 30% reduction in fatalities and serious injuries. RACV believes an ambitious target of a 50% reduction in projected fatalities and serious injuries should be set, in line with the targets adopted by the UN Decade.

How many people are killed or injured on our roads

In the next 24 hours, around 4,800 Australians will be involved in road crashes – 550 will be injured and four will die.


Despite a growing number of people and vehicles, the Victorian road toll is around, because of Victoria's sustained investment in road safety. However, this is still 250 too many and much more needs to be done for what is still a serious issue for the community.  

Serious injuries

In addition to these fatalities, there has been an average of 30,000 people seriously injured each year from road accidents in Australia, with around 5,000 each year in Victoria alone.

This important part of the road toll is often forgotten but also needs attention. Victoria has seen good progress in lowering the number of road deaths but we have not seen big improvements with this ‘hidden toll’. In 2015 there were 252 fatalities and thousands of serious injuries from road crashes with many people in hospital for more than 14 days. Many will have long recoveries or even permanent injuries.

Fatalities each year on Australian and Victorian roads

In 1970 a record road toll of 3,798 fatalities occurred on Australian roads – of which 1,061 were in Victoria.  

The table below shows the number of deaths as a result of road crashes in Australia and Victoria.


























Road safety report card

RACV will provide a report card about the State and Federal Governments’ progress with delivering the actions and achieving the outcomes they've included in their road safety strategies.

The Federal Government’s strategy is the National Road Safety Strategy, 2011 – 2020. A progress report, marking the Federal Government’s progress in the first year of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety, was released by the Australian Automobile Association. RACV is a member of the Australian Automobile Association.

RACV believes that the Federal Government's target to reduce fatalities and serious injuries by 30% is not ambitious enough.  RACV calls on the Federal Government to review those targets and ensure actions are initiated to properly address road safety.

Victoria’s Towards Zero Action Plan 2016-2020 details the Victorian Government’s planned actions to deliver improved road safety.  RACV is calling for strong targets and actions in the Victorian Government's new action plan with committed funding to improve road safety.

To help with your own assessment of progress, you can use the free crash statistics and online crash mapping for Victorian roads that are provided by the TAC and VicRoads.

Safer road users

We all have a responsibility to keep ourselves and others safe on our roads, whether we are drivers, passengers, cyclists, motorcyclists or pedestrians. Ensuring that we make a commitment to behaving safely on our roads can help reduce road trauma.

What is RACV doing?

RACV represents the needs of its members as road users and helps to educate, inform and encourage safe road use at all times.

RACV informs it members and the community about safe road use by conducting ongoing publicity and information campaigns on important issues. These include young driver safety, driveway safety, child restraints and fatigue. RACV offers road safety education programs for school students, learner drivers and their parents and older drivers.

RACV conducts research on a wide range of road user issues. RACV is also a voice on road user behaviour issues, and makes government submissions on issues including motorcycle safety and the transport medical standards.

What needs to be done?

Road safety policy should be based on the ‘safe system approach’ that recognises the importance of safer road users, vehicles and roads. Road safety initiatives must be evidence-based and governments should avoid introducing programs that have no road safety benefit or are counter-productive to road safety. Road safety programs should be evaluated to ensure they are effective and provide value for money. Public campaigns aimed at encouraging safer road user behaviour in areas such as drink driving, speeding and fatigue should continue.

What can you do?

Being a safe and responsible road user is essential for the safety of yourself and others around you. Visit the road safety section of the RACV website for information on the safe use of child restraints, advice for young drivers, and information for older road users. You can also find out about how you or your family can be involved in our school based road safety programs, and our road safety program for seniors, Years Ahead.

Safer roads

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.

Safer cars

Safer Cars can save lives – If everyone bought a vehicle with the 'best in class' safety features the rate of serious injury would reduce by 40%.

What is RACV doing?

RACV is an active partner in the Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) which crash tests popular new vehicles and gives them an easy to understand 1 to 5 star ranking so consumers can easily see which cars in the category are the safest..

At a broader level ANCAP works to bring pressure on car manufacturers to improve safety features. Many companies now require 5 Star ANCAP in their fleet purchases.

RACV is also a partner in the Used Car Safety Ratings (UCSR) program which provides consumer information on the safety performance of used cars involving the evaluation of over five million serious accidents. Vehicle models involved in these accidents are then rated for safety performance and the results compiled in an easy to understand format.

RACV gets out and about as a partner of Safe Wheels - a joint program with Bosch, TAC and VicRoads using  a high tech virtual reality roadshow demonstrating and promoting vehicle safety technologies such as Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning and even looking into the future of Autonomous Vehicles.

Educating members and the community about the benefits of new vehicle safety technologies helps to encourage the adoption of these technologies which can assist in reducing the occurrence and severity of vehicle accidents and their cost to the community. Community engagement also occurs through the Bosch ESC Simulator which has a strong presence at many events throughout the year.

RACV also participates in forums, committees and meetings to enable safer vehicle selections for both new and used car buyers.

What needs to be done?

RACV wants all new cars to be rated five stars in ANCAP and increased pressure on manufacturers to improve safety of vehicles currently rated at less than five stars. RACV also encourages used car buyers to choose safer vehicles using the information provided from the UCSR program.

More information needs to be provided to car buyers about the benefits of new vehicle safety technologies.

What can you do?

The consumer is at the forefront of driving safety. By checking the star ratings provided by ANCAP and purchasing a five star rated vehicle will ensure manufacturers constantly raise the bar.

If buying a used car then check the Used Car Safety Rating (UCSR) information and choose a vehicle rated at five stars. Some vehicles also have a ‘Safe Pick’ rating as they also cause less serious injury to other road users with which they collide including other vehicle drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

Used car buyers don't need to spend a lot of money to buy a safe vehicle nor does the car have to be large to be safe.

A car with the right safety technology is affordable for all new car buyers. Learn about safety technologies and ensure that you specify them as 'must haves' when deciding on your next car.