Two of Australia’s leading road safety experts will help the Federal Government develop a blueprint to reduce deaths and serious injuries on the country’s roads, which have declined over the course of the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020, but have increased over the past two years.
Australia’s Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester, has commissioned an inquiry into improving the effectiveness of the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020 amid fears that many in the community have become too complacent about road safety.
Chester has appointed Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley, director of the Center for Automotive Safety Research at the University of Adelaide, Southern Australia, and Dr John Crozier, chairman of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons’ Trauma Committee, to co-chair the inquiry, which will assess current actions and help find new ways to reduce the number of road fatalities and serious injuries. The inquiry will report back to the Minister in early 2018.
The inquiry complements existing investment in road safety by the Australian government through the road blackspots, heavy vehicle safety initiatives, and infrastructure investment program. In December 2016, the government committed A$450,000 (US$361,450) over three years to the Australian Trauma Registry to better understand the types of injuries and the impact on the health system caused by road crashes, and in July this year, commissioned two research projects into mobile phone distraction and drug driving, which are believed to be contributing to serious injury and death.
“I’m worried that we are too accepting of the fact 1,300 Australians will die on our roads, and tens of thousands will be injured this year,” Chester said. Road trauma has an enormous social impact and in economic terms, road injury costs our nation an estimated A$30bn per year. I don’t accept that as a price we have to pay for a modern transport system.
“The re-evaluation of the existing strategy is about setting the national agenda for years to come. After decades of reductions in road trauma, we have experienced a spike in several states in recent years, and it’s timely to review the national strategy, in partnership with state governments and the community.”
Chester continued, “Jeremy and John are both are experts in road safety and they will draw on their own knowledge and other professionals who are working across Australia to reduce road trauma. I’m pleased that they have agreed to lead the inquiry and I’m confident their work will save lives in the future.”