ANCAP chief executive, James Goodwin, has joined the Deputy Prime Minister celebrating a drop in deaths on local roads in 2018.
A total of 1146 people were killed on Australian roads in 2018, down from 1224 in 2017. Although driver, passenger, cyclist and motorbike deaths were down, pedestrian fatalities rose from 161 to 176.
ANCAP isn't resting on its laurels, though. Although he said improvement is "encouraging", Goodwin made it clear "more can be done" to lower the toll, describing the result as "a chance to push the boundaries and multiply our efforts to achieve further reductions".
"If the current road fatality rate stays as it was in 2018, it is estimated that over the next five years another 6,000 lives will be lost on Australia’s roads," Goodwin said in a statement.
Michael McCormack, Deputy Prime Minister, said the 6.4 per cent decline should "trigger a reason to ask how that performance can be improved" going forward.
“One road death or accident is one too many and the release of these recent national road death figures should serve as a reminder to all road users and stakeholders, including all Governments, to be ever-vigilant and work harder to achieve improvements," he said.
Although the toll was down last year, a report released in November 2018 revealed no state or territory is on track to meet its targets under the National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS) by 2020.
Developed in 2010, the NRSS calls for a 30 per cent reduction in road fatalities by 2020, but a Federal Inquiry found an "implementation failure" has limited effectiveness since its foundation.
Unlike ANCAP and the Deputy Prime Minister, the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) took a hardline stance on our 'fluctuating' road toll.
“This devastating count of human lives highlights that the National Road Strategy, agreed to in 2011, is failing because of a lack of resources and willpower from politicians and bureaucrats alike," said Michael Bradley, AAA CEO.
Chief among its concerns is the fact there's still no system in place to accurately measure injuries from road accidents, which makes it hard to track the all-round impact of non-fatal crashes in Australia.
“If government still can’t say how many crashes there were where speed was a factor and still can’t measure how many serious injuries occur from road crashes, how can it properly measure the success of various strategies? What we only know for sure is that it’s failing,” Bradley said.