Peak motoring authority, the Australian Automobile Association (AAA), has released a statement calling on the Australian Government to fund an inquiry into the country's rising road toll.
The AAA says that no progress has been made in reducing road deaths since the National Road Safety Strategy was agreed to by all Australian governments in 2011.
The AAA released its Benchmarking the performance of the National Road Safety Strategy report this week, which tracks the performance of the Government's plan against its target of reducing road deaths by at least 30 per cent by 2020.
According to the report's findings, 2016 saw a 7.9 per cent increase in road fatalities, with around 1300 Australians losing their lives.
Michael Bradley, AAA chief executive, said: "At a time when new vehicles and roads have never been safer, we need to understand why 40 years of improvement is being so dramatically reversed".
"More than one thousand Australian families lost a loved one on our roads last year, while a further 30,000 are now dealing with the consequences of a life changing serious injury."
"The human cost is immense, however road trauma is also costing our economy around $34 billion every year. This level of death, injury, and cost should not be accepted on our roads and it’s time the Australian Government sought to clarify why our national road safety strategy has stalled, so that efforts to reduce road trauma can be re-focussed," he said.
In addition to its statement, the AAA has also recommended the Government funds the following initiatives:
- Continued funding for the Government’s keys2drive program, which delivers a free lesson with a professional driving instructor to learners and their supervising driver. There is currently no Government funding beyond 30 June 2017
- Continued funding for ANCAP, which provides consumers with vehicle safety ratings. There is currently no Government funding beyond 2017-18
- Removal of remaining tariffs and car taxes designed to protect the Australian automotive sector; a move that would greatly enhance the affordability of newer, safer vehicles
- A requirement for all governments to use risk assessment tools such as AusRAP to prioritise investment and incorporate safety improvements as part of infrastructure upgrades
On average, four people die each day on Australian roads and around 90 people are seriously injured.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, “land transport crashes” are the number one killer of children under 14, the second largest killer of people aged 15 to 24, and the third largest killer of people aged 25 to 44.
What do you think the government should do to reduce the road toll? Let us know in the comments below.
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