The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) has again called for the Federal Government to renew its focus on road safety, as new statistics reveal the national road toll has remained stable over the past year.
In a report called Benchmarking of the Performance of the National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS), the AAA tracks progress against the NRSS’s target of reducing road deaths by at least 30 per cent by the year 2020. All Australian governments committed to the initiative in 2011.
The AAA’s latest version of the report found that in the year to March 2017 saw 1240 lives lost on Australian roads, just nine fewer than March 2015 to 2016 (0.7 per cent). Additionally, this is 111 more than the same period two years ago.
Further to fatalities, around 42,000 Australians are seriously injured on the road every year, meaning 800 people are seriously injured and 24 are killed every week.
The AAA has called on the Federal Government to allocate funding as part of its 2017-18 Budget Submission to establish an inquiry into the causes of the increase in road deaths and to “better understand the trends in serious injuries”.
Earlier this year, the Victoria’s Andrews government announced that 2017 would be the state’s “year of action” against road fatalities, following three years of consecutive increases in the region’s road toll.
As part of its $12 billion ‘Towards Zero Action Plan’, the Labor government has begun to rollout several initiatives to improve road safety such as flexible roadside barriers (top) on country highways, and a crackdown on drug driving – identified as a major factor in 2016’s rise in road deaths.
Interestingly, speeding has taken a back seat in terms of prime focuses for improvement.