Road deaths rise as every state except NSW misses reduction target

Road deaths rise as every state except NSW misses reduction target

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Australia’s roads have been more deadly in every state and territory bar NSW and the Northern Territory in the past year and only NSW has met its national road death toll reduction target.

There were 1204 people killed on the nation’s roads in the year to March 31, an increase of 5.9 per cent, with the Australian Automobile Association calling for state and territory governments to start collecting and publicly reporting crucial data on serious injuries, and deaths in city CBDs and on national highways.

Australia’s road death toll is rising and targets to reduce it have been missed.Credit: iStock

The association has calculated the failure to meet reduction targets has meant 193 more people have died, on a pro rata basis, than should have if the target of 1011 road deaths by the end of March 2023 had been met.

A total of 289 people died on NSW roads in the past year, the same figure as the previous 12 months, but because of population growth this represented a per capita fall.

In its benchmark report on the road safety strategy, the association found Victoria’s road toll rose by 23 deaths to 259 in the year to March 31, an increase of 9.7 per cent.

The most dramatic increase was in the ACT, where the toll rose 70 per cent from a relatively low 10 deaths to 17. In other jurisdictions the overall number of deaths increased, the exception being the Northern Territory, but the territory still did not reach its targeted reduction.

AAA chief executive Michael Bradley questioned the federal government’s commitment to reducing the road toll and said road funding should be contingent on states and territories being more transparent about their accident data.

“You can’t improve what you don’t measure, and when it comes to Australian road trauma, the Commonwealth government measures very little. The families of victims deserve to know governments are learning from each crash and taking steps to prevent others suffering the same fate,” he said.

“Until governments report against the targets they set, Australian road spending will continue to be a political football. Motorists deserve data-driven funding decisions because saving a life is more important than saving a marginal seat.”

Under the National Road Safety Strategy that began in January 2021, states and territories agreed to targets that would mean the death toll on the nation’s roads halved from about 1150 people to about 575 people by 2030. The strategy also targeted zero deaths of children aged seven and under, zero deaths in city CBDs and zero deaths on all national highways and on high-speed roads.

The number of children killed on Australian roads is being counted, but the AAA said data on national serious injuries, deaths in CBDs and on national highways, and high-speed road deaths had not been collected or shared by the states.

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