Political inaction to blame for failure to meet road safety targets, peak motoring group says

| 01.08,19. 03:24 AM |

Political inaction to blame for failure to meet road safety targets, peak motoring group says

Photo: Transport safety experts have suggested improving signage on roads and highways to reduce accidents. (AAP: Mick Tsikas)

Almost half the targets set in the National Road Safety Strategy will not be met before it expires next year, according to research conducted by the Australian Automotive Association (AAA).

The peak motoring body has released its latest Benchmarking of the National Road Safety Strategy report, which it said revealed an ongoing failure to reduce the road toll.

Managing Director Michael Bradley said political inaction was behind the poor result — and it is costing lives.

"This report is sobering," said Mr Bradley.

"It shows not only show the scale of the trauma that's happening on Australian roads, but also the futility of the government's current playbook on road safety."

Mr Bradley said the strategy, signed off on by state and federal governments a decade ago, hoped to reduce road deaths by a third.

But fatalities only dropped around 10 per cent over the decade, he said.

"This should serve as a wake-up call to governments — their disjointed and disorganised approach to road safety is failing badly," he said.

Some targets contained in the strategy, Mr Bradley added, are not able to be measured.

'Our roads are difficult to understand'

There is currently no way to collect national data on the number of people being seriously injured on the roads, he explained.

The Australian Automotive Association has demanded a new approach ahead of the Transport and Infrastructure Council meeting in Adelaide on Friday.

Mr Bradley wants state and federal transport and infrastructure ministers to consider road safety as a priority in all infrastructure and road planning projects.

University of New South Wales transport safety expert Ann Williamson said it was a problem with the government's philosophy on the public safety issue.

She said the current plan was to assume drivers will make errors and try and limit the damage, rather than address why those mistakes were made in the first place.

"One might even argue most of the errors drivers make actually occur because we have not adequately designed vehicles, our roads are often difficult to understand and also I think our road rules have some problems," she said.

She suggested improving the signage on roads and highways, making road rules easier to understand and limiting distracting screens in cars as possible changes.


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