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Sharp Increase to South Australia’s Road Toll Despite 10-Year Road Safety Strategy

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South Australia has recorded the largest increase in road deaths of any state or territory in the past 12 months, as reported by the Australian Automobile Association.

The latest edition of the AAA’s road safety Benchmarking Report confirms the nation’s road toll remains mostly unchanged from previous years.

1,185 fatalities were recorded nationally between September 2018-2019, compared to 1,187 fatalities recorded between September 2014-2015.

In addition to no significant improvement in the past four years, some state fatality rates have increased by more than 15 per cent.

Victoria and South Australia recorded the highest increases in fatalities per annum, by 19.6 per cent and 27.6 per cent respectively.

The rest of the states and territories saw a decrease, though to varying degrees.

New South Wales and Western Australia saw modest decreases, below 10 per cent, against the previous year, while Queensland, Tasmania and the Northern Territory had more substantial reductions, above 10 per cent.

The most significant improvement was in the ACT, recording 5 road deaths, compared to 9 in the previous year, or a 44.4 per cent decrease.

Currently, the ACT is the only state or territory on target to reduce serious injuries by 30 per cent over the decade.

Managing Director of Australia Automobile Association, Michael Bradley, concedes “the time has come to consider the next phase of the National Road Safety Strategy” (NRSS) which will be coming to an end next year.

The 10-year Strategy set a goal of a 30 per cent reduction in death and serious injuries by 2020.

“The NRSS has not been supported by the investment, leadership, and accountability needed to achieve its stated aims.”

The Federal Government’s Inquiry into the NRSS in 2018 found Australia needed to adopt a new approach, with “more resources” and a “smart allocation” of them linked to enhancing road safety.

Responding to this, the Australian Government commissioned the Review of National Road Safety Governance Arrangements, and its final report was released in August, 2019.  

A key finding was the “Australian Government has not provided sufficiently strong leadership, coordination or advocacy on road safety to drive national trauma reductions.”

Bradley made his stance clear, “This must change. The new Office of Road Safety must have the resources, responsibilities, accountability and authority needed to substantially reduce road trauma in Australia.”

He also maintains the necessity for being “guided by robust and transparent data with well-defined metrics and targets.”

“We must ensure that the tragic failures of the current Strategy are not repeated.”

See here for the full Benchmark Report from the AAA.