The Australian Government is continuing to invest in road safety initiatives and projects to help drive down the number of deaths and injuries on our roads and reduce the impact road trauma has on our families and communities, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester said.
“The Government has approved an extension to funding for Keys2drive, providing $16 million over four years for the provision of free lessons for learner drivers and their parents or supervising driver. This programme continues to set up a foundation of good driving habits for tomorrow’s motorists,” Mr Chester said.
“The Australian Government is providing $828,000 in funding over two years for heavy vehicle driver fatigue research in response to the challenge of fatigue-related heavy vehicle accidents. Run by the National Transport Commission and the Alertness, Safety and Productivity Cooperative Research Centre, this project aims to produce robust, evidence-based research, to inform the design of future fatigue arrangements for the heavy vehicle industry.
The Government is providing over $15.6 million over four years in funding from the now defunct Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator for 2017–18 for heavy vehicle safety initiatives. This funding follows a $3.9 million commitment in 2016–17 and will be used to progress a package of practical initiatives to improve the safety of the heavy vehicle industry. Initiatives funded by the 2016–17 grant are well underway, with:
- ‘Chain of Responsibility’ education, developed in concert with relevant government and industry bodies and provided by the NHVR, which commenced in February 2017; and
- the April 2017 launch of the first in a series of Automated Number Plate Recognition roadside cameras, designed to improve national heavy vehicle compliance and enforcement capability.
“Agreement concerning the allocation of heavy vehicle safety activities for 2017–18 occurred at the Transport and Infrastructure Council’s May 2017 meeting.
“$328 million is being provided through the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Programme from 2013–14 to 2020–21 to improve the productivity and safety outcomes of heavy vehicle operations.
“As part of the Government’s $450,000 commitment over three years to the Australian Trauma Registry, we are providing $150,000 in 2017–18 to continue to develop a clear picture and track progress on the numbers of Australians who are severely injured in road crashes nationally. This will lead to improved medical practice and better outcomes for patients.
“The Australian Government supports the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) as its star ratings program encourages manufacturers to bring safer vehicles to the market. These ratings provide consumers with the latest information on the safety benefits of innovative and emerging safety technologies, complementing the Commonwealth’s role as a vehicle safety regulator.
“The Commonwealth joined ANCAP as a member in May 2010 and has provided $8.25 million in funding to date, with a further $1.1 million in funding committed for 2017–18. This has helped expand ANCAP’s crash test program as well as further its cooperation with NCAPs in other countries.
“The Australian Government is continuing to fund the Black Spot Programme with $684.5 million from 2013–14 to 2020–21 so it can continue to deliver safety improvements such as safety barriers and street lighting to sections of dangerous roads that have a crash history.
“Commitment to the Roads to Recovery Programme has been maintained with $4.4 billion from 2013–14 to 2020–21 committed to the construction, repair and upgrade of local roads.
“The Government’s Infrastructure Investment Programme will continue to improve the safety on our roads with a contribution of over $3.9 billion to safety projects. Projects such as the Bruce Highway Safety Package, which includes wide centre-line treatments that have been shown to reduce head-on collisions by up to 50 per cent, will contribute to a safer road network.
“Since the start of the Pacific Highway upgrade, the number of fatal crashes has continued to trend downwards. Fatal crashes have halved, down from more than 40 each year to about 20 annually in recent years. It is anticipated that future upgrades will continue to improve safety, further reducing the number of fatal and casualty crashes on the highway.
“In addition to these commitments, the Government is also looking at improving roadside drug testing, and options to reduce the impact of mobile phone distraction on road crashes, through two new research projects. Both drug-impaired driving and mobile phone use while driving have been identified by senior police and state and territory road safety ministers as priority areas to address.
“I am passionate about road safety and I refuse to accept that human lives are the price we have to pay for a modern road network. Funding these important road safety initiatives will continue to build on this Government’s legacy to ensure Australia remains one of the safest road systems in the world,” Mr Chester said.