Slow politicians must act on road safety data

Australia’s road deaths are continuing to rise, with new data showing 1,240 people were killed on Australian roads in the 12 months to 30 September 2023, representing a 4.6% annual increase.

Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics data show deaths rose by 17.2% in NSW, 28.4% in South Australia, 7% in Western Australia and 6.7% in Victoria over this period, with cycling deaths up 30.3% and pedestrian deaths up 11.3%.

Australian governments committed to halving national deaths through the decade to 2030 when they agreed the National Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030, yet annual fatalities are now 13 per cent higher than when that Strategy was agreed.

In response to worsening road safety outcomes, Australia’s peak motoring body has launched the Data Saves Lives campaign, calling for the publication of crucial road safety data to better understand current failings and to guide development of future interventions. State and territory governments already collect – but they do not report – data describing the causes of crashes, the state of our roads, and the effectiveness of law enforcement.

The Data Saves Lives campaign is calling on the Commonwealth to compel state and territory governments to publish this data as a condition of receiving annual federal road grants currently worth $10 billion.

AAA Managing Director Michael Bradley said: “Australia’s worsening road fatality rates deserve more than a business-as-usual approach.

“Australia’s current approach to road safety is not working and data transparency is needed to allow an examination of the factors responsible for current failings.”

The AAA is calling on the Commonwealth and states to include data sharing obligations in the next five-year National Partnership Agreement on Land Transport Infrastructure Projects, currently under development and set to take effect from July 2024.

The Commonwealth already attaches similar data sharing requirements to national funding in agreements related to health, education, and housing.

Mr Bradley said: “Data transparency and evidence-based policy will cost next to nothing and will save lives.

“It would also provide a new level of funding transparency and assure voters that their political representatives are spending taxpayers’ money where it will be most effective in making our roads safer.”

The Data Save Lives campaign is supported by Australia’s state and territory motoring clubs, as well as 17 industry and community organisations focused on saving lives and preventing injuries on Australian roads.

Visit the campaign website

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