Data reporting obstacle to reducing road toll

The nation’s peak motoring body has backed a call by an all-party Victorian Parliamentary committee for the state to collect and publish more data about the causes of car crashes.

Victoria’s Parliamentary Public Accounts and Estimates Committee today tabled a report noting the state’s road toll had increased by 24.6 per cent in the past year – well ahead of the state’s road safety target to cut deaths by half by 2030.

The committee called on the Transport Accident Commission to publish and make greater use of data collected from crash investigations to improve road safety policy.

AAA Managing Director, Michael Bradley, said the committee’s call for data transparency and evidence-based policy making was common sense.

“The road toll is going up by nearly 10 per cent a year across the country and we need to look at data about crash causation, the state of our roads and police enforcement,’ Mr Bradley said.

“State and territory governments hold data, but it is not made public.”

Mr Bradley said the best way to prevent tomorrow’s road trauma was to learn the lessons from today’s car crashes.

“I’m encouraged that the Victorian parliamentary committee is taking this approach because we keep being told by bureaucrats and politicians in Canberra that it is all too hard to get this data,” he said.

“If Victorian MPs can see the need for data transparency to save lives, it should be good enough for other states to do the same and for the Federal Government to step up and show leadership by requiring states to produce this data as a condition for receiving federal road funding.”

The Commonwealth and states and territories are in the process of negotiating a new five-year National Partnership Agreement on road funding, to be completed later this year.

Mr Bradley called on the Federal Government to require states to publish data about car crashes, road conditions and policing in return for their portion of its $10 billion-a-year in road grants to states.

The reform would not only help produce more effective road safety policy, but also allow Australians to judge whether politicians were spending their taxes to save lives or win votes.

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