Australia Records Worst Road Toll In More Than Decade

Australia’s peak motoring body says new figures revealing an 11.2 per cent annual increase in road deaths send an unambiguous message that state governments must agree to Federal demands to share critical data about the causes of road trauma.

The Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economic figures show 1,310 people died on Australian roads in the year to April 30 – up from 1,178 a year earlier. This is the highest 12-month death toll since 30 November 2012, which also had 1,310 fatalities.

The latest 12-month figures include huge surges in NSW (31.2%) and the Northern Territory (35.3%), as well as large increases in Victoria (12.4%), Queensland (5.7%), and South Australia (9.8%).

Source: Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics statistics.

AAA Managing Director Michael Bradley said these figures underscored the importance of states reporting data they hold about the causes of crashes, the quality of roads, and the effectiveness of policing, so it can be used to produce more effective road safety interventions.

“To its credit, the Federal Government has agreed to insert data transparency clauses into the next five-year intergovernmental road funding agreement, which begins in July,” Mr Bradley said.

“These figures tragically show Australia’s current approach to road trauma management is failing and that we need a data-driven response to a problem killing more than 100 people every month.

“The Queensland Government has publicly agreed to provide road safety data, but other states have been silent on this important reform proposal.

“Data sharing will reveal which state’s road safety measures are the most effective, and the safety interventions that are most needed. That will not only save lives, but also end the politicisation of road funding by revealing whether governments are investing in the roads that most need safety upgrades, rather than investing in road projects in marginal electorates to win votes.”

In this week’s Budget, Federal Transport Minister Catherine King backed up her pledge to link federal road funding for state projects to data transparency by allocating $21 million to beef up the work of the National Road Safety Data Hub.

Mr Bradley said: “Minister King is right to respond to the rising road toll by demanding data transparency, and it’s now time for states to open their books”.

The AAA launched its Data Saves Lives road safety data transparency campaign in October 2023. The campaign is supported by the nation’s motoring clubs, and 18 national organisations representing motorists, motorcyclists, truckers, pedestrians, doctors, insurers, road engineers and safety advocates.

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