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Road safety improving but work to be done

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

05 November 2010 CK001/2010

Road Safety Improving But Work To Be Done

Australian road deaths have declined this year according to the latest road fatality statistics compiled by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE).

Catherine King, Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Transport, said that in the 12-month period ending September 2010, there were 1,392 deaths on the nation's roads, which is the lowest 12-month fatality count since the 1940s.

"In fact, for the first nine months of this year to the end of September there was a drop in road deaths of nine per cent," Ms King said.

"Over the last 10 years, our road fatality rate has fallen by 33 per cent in terms of deaths per head of population. While this is some way short of the 40 per cent reduction target set at the start of the decade, it shows that our road safety programs are continuing to make a real difference to the well-being of Australians."

Ms King said that while she is encouraged by the downward trend in fatality numbers, much more work is needed to reduce the unacceptable burden of road trauma on the community.

"A new report on international road fatality statistics released today by the BITRE suggests that Australia needs to significantly lift its performance to match the leading road safety nations," Ms King said.

"The report, International road safety comparisons 2009, examines road fatality statistics among 27 OECD countries. It shows that Australia's fatality rate of 6.8 deaths per 100,000 people compares with 3.8 for the United Kingdom, 3.9 for the Netherlands and Sweden, and 4.5 for Japan and Switzerland."

Ms King noted that such statistical comparisons do not take into account the different social and geographical factors of different nations, but that they do set important international benchmarks for assessing our future road safety improvement.

"We have been working with all state and territory governments on a new Australian National Road Safety Strategy for 20112020, which aims to significantly raise the bar for Australias road safety performance over the coming decade," Ms King said.

Ms King said that a draft of the new strategy will soon be released for comment and that she will be asking the public to take an active interest in the safety of our roads.

"Governments in Australia will work together to achieve further reductions in road trauma, but we cannot do it alone.

"Everyone on the road must take their share of responsibility for the safety of themselves and others around them," Ms King concluded.

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The latest road death statistics and the international comparisons report are available from the BITRE's website at

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