Road safety is everyone's responsibility
Australians must reflect on the numbers released through todays International Road Safety Comparisons 2022 and remember that road safety is the responsibility of all road users, be it a driver, cyclist, pedestrian or otherwise.
We know that driver behaviour is a major contributing factor to serious injuries and deaths on our roads, and unfortunately, the trends we are seeing are going in the wrong direction.
In 2022, over 300,000 mobile phone infringements were issued using mobile phone detection cameras.
The number of mobile phone infringements issued in 2022 is well over 100,000 more infringements issued compared to 2021.
We know that distracted driving is a factor in 16% of serious casualty road crashes resulting in hospital attendance in Australia.
Distracted driving is categorised as any time a driver takes their eyes off the roads, hands off the wheel or mind off the primary task being driving safely.
Although levels of speeding fines were lower in 2022 compared to 2021, fines for speeding were still well above the years prior to 2021. In 2022, police issued over 4 million speeding infringements, excluding the ACT.
Through the National Road Safety Action Plan Progress Report, delivered to the Infrastructure and Transport Ministers Meeting last week in Hobart, the report shows that the highest number of fatalities have happened in 100km/h speed limit zones.
However, it should be noted that we have also seen a 30 per cent increase in deaths happening in low speed zones at 50km/h or less.
Since the introduction of seatbelt monitoring cameras, infringements relating to seatbelt use have skyrocketed. In 2022, over 88 thousand seatbelt infringements were issued across the country.
Alarmingly, further data, as reported in the National Road Safety Action Plan Progress Report, indicates that an upward trend in fatalities in urban areas in recent years, and regional areas continue to have stubbornly high rates of fatalities.
In 2023, metropolitan areas reported 32 more deaths than the previous year (an 8% increase), and regional areas had an increase of 28 deaths (a 5% increase) and remote areas an additional 20 deaths (18% increase).
The Australian Government is whole-heartedly committed to Vision Zero, that is zero deaths and serious injuries on our roads by 2050.
Through the National Road Safety Action Plan (2023-25) focuses on delivering tangible and measurable actions, clear responsibilities and timeframes.
Through the Action Plan, the Australian Government will deliver several key initiatives and changes, aimed at reducing road trauma across Australia.
This includes actions such as:
- Signing off on Australia’s first ever Data Sharing Agreement between the Australian Government and states and territories, as well as National Road Safety Data Collection and Reporting Framework.
- Improving regional and remote road safety through targeted road safety infrastructure programs,
- Progressing the uptake of new vehicle safety features and technologies through new Australian Design Rules, and
- Building and upgrading heavy vehicle rest areas across the country.
Through the guidance of the Action Plan, the Australian Government is working to reduce road deaths and serious injuries across the country, engaging closely with state, territory and local governments, as well as other stakeholders.