Decade-long road deaths strategy fails

·2-min read

A decade-long strategy to reduce deaths on Australia's roads has failed.

Instead, according to the Australian Automobile Association, 522 more lives were lost on our roads than federal and state governments had anticipated.

The AAA's quarterly report, which examines the performance of the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020, shows the key target - to reduce road deaths and serious injuries by at least 30 per cent in the decade - has not been met.

During the decade in which the strategy ran, more than 12,000 lives were lost on Australia's roads.

This was despite a drop in deaths in 2020 in all but two states, attributed to reduced traffic during COVID-19 lockdowns.

According to the AAA analysis, total road deaths fell by 22.4 per cent during the decade-long strategy whilst the goal had been a 30 per cent reduction.

AAA's managing director Michael Bradley said that based on an AAA analysis of the data, if Australia had met the progressive targets of the strategy over the whole 10 years then 522 lives could have been saved.

"Over the course of the decade, more than 12,000 lives have been lost on our roads. And the toll in human suffering, especially on those left behind, is immeasurable," Mr Bradley said.

He said it was critical that lessons be learned and that a national emergency requires a national response with clear leadership from the federal government.

Mr Bradley said data revealed almost half of the strategy's 33 targets were not on track to be met, many agreed targets could still not be measured and for several safety indicators targets were not even set.

According to the AAA, in 2020 the number of deaths in Queensland rose 26 per cent and in Tasmania the spike was 24 per cent. Deaths fell in all other states, due to less traffic during coronavirus lockdowns.

Despite this, in the 12 months ended December 2020, the reduction in deaths nationwide was just 6.7 per cent down from the previous 12 months.