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No place for complacency on road safety



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MEDIA RELEASE The Hon Catherine King MP Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Transport

07 December 2010 CK008/2010

No Place For Complacency On Road Safety

A new study shows safety measures have dramatically reduced the road fatality rate but there is a need for fresh action now to ensure further reductions in the future.

Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Transport, Catherine King, said the study released today by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics shows that the road fatality rate in 2010 is one-tenth of what it was in the late 1960s.

The study compares rates over this period by deaths per billion vehicle-kilometres travelled. The comparisons show there were 40-plus deaths per billion kilometres in the 1960s compared to 4 ½ today.

“This is proof that focussing on safer road users, safer cars and safer roads is working,” Ms King said.

“The fall in the rate is an amazing pay-off to three main safety measures over the last 40 years: seat belt wearing, random breath testing and speed enforcement.

“In each state and territory these measures have been shown to have progressively reduced casualties, but the about 1,500 fatalities and 30,000 serious injuries on our roads yearly clearly demonstrates we still have work to do.”

Ms King said the reduction in fatalities and injuries has levelled out and the draft National Road Safety Strategy released on December 1 contains measures aimed at driving further reductions.

“This study demonstrates what can be achieved with concerted community effort. I urge people to comment on the new draft strategy so that we can reinvigorate our approach for the next decade.”

The BITRE study shows seat belt wearing rates have risen from about 5 per cent in the late 1960s to about 97 per cent today-this basic restraint plays the most important role in preventing death should an accident occur.

“Since the 1980s, but especially since the beginning of the 1990’s, enforcement efforts against drink-driving and speeding have been ramped up and currently have been shown to play a very important role in preventing deaths on our roads,” Ms King said.

“In fact in the absence of these two enforcement efforts, deaths on the roads would be double what they are today.

“The study also predicts that in the absence of further road safety efforts the fatality rate would cease declining and the number of deaths on our roads would rise with increasing traffic. “

To comment on the new draft National Road Safety Strategy go to

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www.infrastructure.gov.au.

A copy of the study can be found at http://www.bitre.gov.au.

Media Contacts

Peter Dwyer ( King's Office ) 0409 866 054

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