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Tuesday, 17 March 1987
Page: 755


Senator ELSTOB —My question to the Minister representing the Minister for Transport refers to road safety. Is the Minister aware of any plans to reintroduce community service television announcements, such as those sponsored in the past by petroleum companies, in which tips for safe motoring are demonstrated? Does the Minister agree that such demonstrations could provide valuable information on safe driving skills that are normally acquired only after years of driving experience? Will the Minister investigate this concept as a way of increasing community education in road safety?


Senator GIETZELT —The Government is particularly interested in creating community awareness about road safety. The whole community shares this concern. This Government-particularly the Minister for Transport-is committed to reducing deaths and injuries resulting from road crashes. As Senator Elstob said, private companies have attempted to assist in that process. The Government's road safety strategy is largely centred on three principal factors-making vehicles as safe as possible, making roads as safe as possible and making drivers as safe as possible. Of course, there are limitations because this requires consultation and co-operation with State governments. The Government believes those objectives are being realised; there has been a noticeable fall-off in road fatalities since 1983 as compared with the previous five years. This is a result of the efforts of my colleague, Mr Morris, particularly. Currently the Government is looking at giving some priority to the human factor in road crashes. This involves a survey of the number of young drivers who are involved in road crashes. I heard on the radio in the last 24 hours some reference to the percentage of young people involved in road crashes. I am advised that drivers in the age group of 17 to 25, who represent only 15 per cent of the population, comprise 35 per cent of all road fatalities. We are anxious to continue the work that has been done by the Caltex and Mobil oil companies. Obviously, such community service announcements by other large corporations in Australia would assist the Government and therefore the community in trying to reduce still further the alarmingly high number of fatalities, particularly amongst young drivers.