May 20, 2011

New National Road Safety Strategy for Australia

New National Road Safety Strategy for Australia

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

Minister for Infrastructure & Transport

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

20 May 2011

Australia has a new National Road Safety Strategy, endorsed today by the Australian Transport Council, which aims to cut the road toll by at least 30 per cent by 2020.

Anthony Albanese, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and Catherine King, Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Transport said the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-20 marked a commitment by all governments to significantly improve road safety across the country.

“The National Road Safety Strategy provides a comprehensive plan to reduce trauma on Australian roads,” Mr Albanese said.

“With road crashes killing approximately 1,400 people each year, and seriously injuring 32,000, we must do more to change the way we think and respond to the road safety challenge.

“Death and serious injury should not be accepted as an inevitable cost of road travel, and the release of this strategy is welcome news for motorists and families across the country. “

The National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020 sets a target of cutting deaths and serious injuries on our roads by at least 30 per cent by 2020.

“This compares with the 23 per cent reduction in deaths we achieved over the previous decade and the strategy sets out a range of measures to reach this ambitious, but achievable target,” Ms King said.

“This new target is challenging but realistic – and we must make every effort to do even better.”

As part of the strategy, all governments have agreed to implement a number of actions, based on a Safe System approach, which aims to achieve Safe Roads, Safe Speeds, Safe Vehicles, and Safe People.

Governments have agreed to a set of first steps to be implemented over the next three years, with a number of measures proposed for further consideration and possible implementation as the strategy progresses.

Ms King said that the Australian Government is already taking steps to see key elements of the strategy implemented.

“The Australian Government recently announced a new fleet purchasing policy, which mandates that all light passenger vehicles purchased by the Australian Government must have a 5 start ANCAP safety rating from 1 July 2011.

“This is a key element of the Safe Vehicles component of the strategy and I am proud that the Australian Government is taking a lead on this issue,” Ms King said.

Mr Albanese said that the Strategy reflected the views of a range of stakeholders, including road safety campaigners, researchers, community groups, and even individuals.

“The release of the National Road Safety Strategy follows a comprehensive consultation process, with just under 700 submissions received from a range of stakeholders.

“The result is an action-based, nationally agreed plan to reduce road trauma and change the culture of driving in this country,” Mr Albanese said.

Agreed first steps include:

  • ensuring all new road projects apply Safe System principles;
  • modifying infrastructure funding guidelines to increase the safety benefits resulting from road programs;
  • using national guidelines to assess speed limits on higher-risk roads;
  • developing a national public information campaign about the community safety benefits that would result from improved compliance with speed limits;
  • strengthen the deterrence effects of random breath testing programs (RBT) and random roadside drug testing programs;
  • requiring all government fleets to implement nationally-agreed fleet purchasing policies and encourage adoption by other fleet operators; and
  • expanding the Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) to increase the coverage of crash test results across the full range of new vehicles on the Australian market.

Further information and a copy of the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020 is available at http://www.atcouncil.gov.au/.