On 1 August 2019, a Joint Select Committee on Road Safety was established by the Australian Parliament to inquire into and report on the steps that can be taken to reduce Australia’s road accident rates, and investigate the impact of trauma and death on our roads.
On average, more than 1,200 people are killed and at least 36 000 are hospitalised each year as a result of crashes on Australian roads. In 2019 two-thirds of these occurred on rural and regional areas.
Taking into account population increases over time, the annual rate of deaths on the road network has reduced from 30.4 to 4.7 deaths per 100,000 people between 1970 and 2019. However, since 2015, this decline appears to have stalled.
The Committee tabled a report in the Australian Parliament on 30 October 2020 containing 22 recommendations including that the Australian Government:
- commit more funding to road safety;
- harmonise inter-governmental of crash data;
- review the Black Spot program and increase funding with a higher percentage in rural and regional areas;
- work with states and territories to harmonise crash data, road asset data and safety principles, plus improve skills and education.
- fund research into the effectiveness of varying road treatments in different circumstances;
- review procurement practices to focus on safety;
- review timeframes for imposition of mandatory vehicle safety features;
- fund research into driver distraction and driver assistance technologies;
- increase the number of point-to-point and mobile phone detection cameras;
- support education campaigns on road sharing, rural & regional roads and distraction;
- include compulsory first aid training for learner’s permit and licence renewals;
- establish a standing committee on road safety.