Australiaâ€™s peak motoring organisation, the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) called for renewed focus from the Federal Government on road safety, as road deaths remain stubbornly high. The target of a thirty per cent reduction in road deaths by 2020 is slipping from the Governmentâ€™s grasp, and requires a renewed commitment in next weekâ€™s Budget.
The AAA has released its Benchmarking of the Performance of the National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS) report which tracks progress against the NRSS target of reducing road deaths by at least 30 per cent by 2020. All Australian governments committed to this strategy in 2011. The report finds that in the year to March 2017, 1,240 lives were lost on our roads, 9 fewer than for the same period last year. This is a decrease of just 0.7 per cent, and is 111 more than in the same period two years ago, which highlights the lack of progress to the 2020 target.
The trauma on our roads extends further than fatalities. In addition to those killed around 42,000 Australians are seriously injured on our roads each year1. Thatâ€™s 800 Australians seriously injured and 24 killed on our roads each week. At a time when new vehicles and roads have never been safer, we need to understand why 40 years of road safety improvement appears to be at risk of being reversed.
As part of its 2017-18 Budget Submission, the AAA has called on the Australian Government to establish an inquiry into the causes of the increase in road deaths and to better understand the trends in serious injuries. The AAA now renews that call.
Such an inquiry is an important, urgent, and low cost step the Government can take towards reducing the human suffering, and the billions in annual economic costs, caused by road crashes.
For more information visit http://www.aaa.asn.au/reports/