Two of Australia’s leading road safety experts will help the Federal Government develop a blueprint to reduce deaths and serious injuries on the nation’s roads, according to Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester.
Mr Chester has commissioned an inquiry into improving the effectiveness of the National Road Safety Strategy 2011–2020 amid fears that many in the community have become too complacent about road safety.
“I’m worried that we are too accepting of the fact 1300 Australians will die on our roads and tens of thousands will be injured this year,” Mr Chester said.
“Road trauma has an enormous social impact and in economic terms, road injury costs our nation an estimated $30 billion per year. I don’t accept that as a price we have to pay for a modern transport system. The re-evaluation of the existing strategy is about setting the national agenda for years to come.
“After decades of reductions in road trauma, we have experienced a spike in several states in recent years and it’s timely to review the national strategy, in partnership with the state government and the community.”
Mr Chester said the inquiry would assess current actions and help find new ways to reduce the number of road fatalities and serious injuries.
“I have appointed Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley, Director of the Centre for Automotive Safety Research at the University of Adelaide, and Dr John Crozier, Chair of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons’ Trauma Committee, to co-chair the inquiry,” Mr Chester said.
“Both are experts in road safety and they will draw on their own knowledge and other professionals who are working across Australia to reduce road trauma. I’m pleased that
Jeremy and John have agreed to lead the inquiry and I’m confident their work will save lives in the future.
“Building on our understanding of best practice in road safety management will assist policy makers, industry and our emergency services to address the challenges we face, as well as identify where we can work better together.
“No-one is expecting a single solution to reducing road trauma and we all need to take responsibility for our actions on our nation’s roads as we work towards a safer system.
“It’s about safer drivers, in safer vehicles, driving on safer roads. This inquiry will assist in setting Federal Government policy priorities for the future.”
The inquiry complements existing investment in road safety by the Australian Government through the road blackspots, heavy vehicle safety initiatives, and infrastructure investment program.
In December 2016, the government committed $450,000 over three years to the Australian Trauma Registry to better understand the types of injuries and the impact on the health system caused by road crashes.
In July this year, the Federal Government commissioned two research projects into mobile phone distraction and drug driving, which are believed to be contributing to serious injury and death.
“The Australian Government has a $75 billion infrastructure investment program right across Australia that is changing lives and saving lives,” Mr Chester said.
“This inquiry will help to inform future road safety investment decisions. I will be encouraging interested stakeholders to participate in roundtables and share their experiences through a submission process in the coming months.”
The inquiry will report back to the Minister in early 2018.
For more information and to make a submission visit: roadsafety.gov.au