New Targets for Reducing Road Deaths in Australia

The new national target to reduce both road fatalities and road injuries by at least 30% by 2020 is a welcome move according to Associate Professor Rebecca Ivers, an internationally recognised expert in road safety and Director of Injury Research at The George Institute for Global Health.

The announcement made following the Transport Ministers meeting in Alice Springs last week is Australia’s first action in support of the World Health Organization Decade of Action for Road Safety which was launched in Sydney last Wednesday.

The goals of the Decade of Action for Road Safety aim to save five million lives, 50 million serious injuries and the equivalent of US$5 trillion.

Professor Ivers has just commenced a large study about driving safety in Aboriginal communities.  Aboriginal Australians are twice as likely to die in a road crash and are up to 40% more likely to be injured.

Professor Ivers commented, “Factors such as less access to emergency services, poor roads and older, less safe cars combined with complex social and cultural issue all contribute to significantly higher than average injury and mortality rates among Aboriginal communities.  This study, conducted in collaboration with Aboriginal communities, aims to take an in-depth look at the role of these factors in road crashes and how we can make changes to start reversing these trends

The new National Road Safety Strategy promotes the need to implement programs addressing the road safety needs of Indigenous communities and disadvantaged groups. Professor Ivers commented that “I look forward to seeing substantial investment by State Governments in terms of funding and community engagement with Aboriginal people on road safety”.

The George Institute welcomes the new targets and encourages further research, support and promotion to help achieve the goals set by WHO for the Decade of Action for Road Safety.