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Road Safety—Joint Select Committee—Improving road safety in Australia—Report, October 2020


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October 2020

Joint Select Committee on Road Safety

Improving Road Safety in Australia

© Commonwealth of Australia

ISBN 978-1-76093-131-5

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The details of this licence are available on the Creative Commons website: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/au/.

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iii

Members

Chair Mr Llew O'Brien MP (to 24.02.2020) Wide Bay, QLD

Mr Pat Conaghan MP (from 26.02.2020) Cowper, NSW

Deputy Chair Senator Alex Gallacher (from 19.09.2019 to 05.02.2020, and from 30.06.2020) ALP, SA

Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP (from 12.02.2020 to 30.06.2020) Kingsford Smith, NSW

Members Hon Sharon Bird MP Cunningham, NSW

Mr Russell Broadbent MP Monash, VIC

Senator Sam McMahon CLP, NT

Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP Kingsford Smith, NSW

Mr Rick Wilson MP O'Connor, WA

Senator Alex Gallacher (from 17.06.2020 to 30.06.2020) ALP, SA

Substitute members Senator Glenn Sterle for Senator Alex Gallacher (from 05.02.2020 to 17.06.2020) ALP, WA

Participating members Senator Glenn Sterle (from 17.06.2020) ALP, WA

Discharged members Mr Llew O'Brien MP (on 24.02.2020) Wide Bay, QLD

Gerry McInally, Committee Secretary Trish Carling, Senior Research Officer Emily Treeby, Senior Research Officer Kaitlyn Murphy, Acting Senior Research Officer Michael Fisher, Research Officer Jason See, Administrative Officer

PO Box 6100 Telephone: (02) 6277 3511

Parliament House Fax: (02) 6277 5811

CANBERRA ACT 2600 Email: road.safety@aph.gov.au

v

Abbreviations

AAA Australian Automobile Association

ACRS Australasian College of Road Safety

Action Plan National Road Safety Action Plan 2018-2020

ADRs Australian Design Rules

AEB Autonomous Emergency Braking

ALGA Australian Local Government Association

ANCAP Australasian New Car Assessment Program

ARSF Australian Road Safety Foundation

ARRB Australian Road Research Board

ATS Australasian Trauma Society

AusRAP Australian Road Assessment Program

BAC Blood Alcohol Concentration

BITRE Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research

Economics

COAG Council of Australian Governments

committee Joint Select Committee on Road Safety

Department of Infrastructure Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications EDRs Event Data Recorders

EU European Union

FCAI Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries

George Institute George Institute for Global Health

Governance Review Review of the National Road Safety Governance Arrangements IAG Insurance Australia Group

icare NSW Insurance and Care NSW

IPWEA Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia

iRAP International Road Assessment Programme

KPIs Key Performance Indicators

MRFF Medical Research Future Fund

NeuRA Neuroscience Research Australia

NHMRC National Health and Medical Research Council

NHVR National Heavy Vehicle Regulator

NLTN National Land Transport Network

NRSS National Road Safety Strategy

NRSS Inquiry Inquiry into the 2011-2020 National Road Safety Strategy NRSS Inquiry Report Final Report of the Inquiry into the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020 NTC National Transport Commission

vi

ORS Office of Road Safety

PCA Pedestrian Council of Australia

RAC Royal Automobile Club

RACS Royal Australasian College of Surgeons

RACV Royal Automobile Club of Victoria

RACWA Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia

RSP 2021 NSW Government Road Safety Plan 2021

RTSSV Road Trauma Support Services Victoria

Safe System Safe Roads, Safe Speeds, Safe Vehicles and Safe

People

SARAH Safer Australian Roads and Highways Inc.

SIRA State Insurance Regulatory Authority

SPIs Safety Performance Indicators

Standing Committee Parliamentary Standing Committee on Road Safety TIC Transport and Infrastructure Council

TMR Queensland Department of Transport and Main

Roads

UNECE United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

WALGA Western Australian Local Government Association

vii

Contents

Members ............................................................................................................................................. iii

Abbreviations ...................................................................................................................................... v

List of Recommendations ................................................................................................................. xi

Chapter 1—Introduction and background ..................................................................................... 1

Committee establishment ................................................................................................................... 1

Conduct of the inquiry ....................................................................................................................... 2

Acknowledgements .................................................................................................................. 2

Report structure ................................................................................................................................... 2

Road trauma in Australia ................................................................................................................... 3

Stagnation in improving road safety outcomes ................................................................... 4

Road trauma in regional and remote Australia .................................................................... 5

Road trauma rates in regional Australia .......................................................................................... 7

Cost of road trauma ............................................................................................................................ 8

Financial costs............................................................................................................................ 8

Social and psychological impacts ........................................................................................... 9

Improving road safety in Australia ................................................................................................. 10

National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS) ............................................................................... 10

The Safe System approach ............................................................................................................... 12

NRSS 2021-2030 .................................................................................................................................. 13

National Road Safety Action Plan 2018-2020 ..................................................................... 13

Inquiry into the 2011-2020 National Road Safety Strategy .............................................. 14

Review of the National Road Safety Governance Arrangements .................................... 16

Chapter 2—Jurisdictional cohesion ............................................................................................... 19

Federal, whole-of-government leadership, strategy and investment ......................................... 20

Safe System principles ....................................................................................................................... 21

Committee view ................................................................................................................................. 24

The Office of Road Safety (ORS) ...................................................................................................... 24

The role of the ORS ................................................................................................................. 26

Committee view ................................................................................................................................. 28

Funding ............................................................................................................................................... 29

viii

Funding conditions ................................................................................................................. 30

Research funding .................................................................................................................... 31

Committee view ................................................................................................................................. 31

Data ...................................................................................................................................................... 32

Data Collection ........................................................................................................................ 33

Data linkage, harmonisation and sharing ........................................................................... 35

Definitions ................................................................................................................................ 36

Progress in relation to a definition of 'serious injury' ........................................................ 37

Committee view ................................................................................................................................. 39

State and territory partnership ......................................................................................................... 40

Programs and their effectiveness ..................................................................................................... 41

Black Spot Program ................................................................................................................ 41

Funding .................................................................................................................................... 41

Committee view ................................................................................................................................. 43

Western Australian Government ..................................................................................................... 43

RoadWise Program ................................................................................................................. 43

Run-off Road Crash Program ................................................................................................ 44

NSW Government .............................................................................................................................. 45

Safer Roads Program .............................................................................................................. 46

Saving Lives on Country Roads Program ........................................................................... 46

Victoria ................................................................................................................................................ 47

Committee view ................................................................................................................................. 47

Local Government .............................................................................................................................. 47

Skills .......................................................................................................................................... 49

Committee view ................................................................................................................................. 50

Chapter 3—Parliamentary Standing Committee ........................................................................ 51

Role of the Standing Committee ...................................................................................................... 52

Bipartisan approach ........................................................................................................................... 53

Leadership ........................................................................................................................................... 54

Accountability .................................................................................................................................... 54

Stakeholder coordination ................................................................................................................. 55

Recommendations for a different oversight body ......................................................................... 56

ix

Committee view ................................................................................................................................. 57

Chapter 4—Road network ............................................................................................................... 59

Road quality ........................................................................................................................................ 59

Improving road quality ..................................................................................................................... 62

Infrastructure investment and safety .............................................................................................. 65

Infrastructure funding linked to safety performance ................................................................... 66

Star ratings for roads ......................................................................................................................... 67

Key performance indicators ............................................................................................................. 70

Road funding and management responsibilities ............................................................... 70

Improvements for vulnerable road users ....................................................................................... 74

Road sharing initiatives ......................................................................................................... 75

Pedestrians ............................................................................................................................... 76

Cyclists ..................................................................................................................................... 77

Motorcyclists ........................................................................................................................... 77

Committee view ................................................................................................................................. 78

Chapter 5—Vehicle fleet management ......................................................................................... 81

The Australian vehicle fleet .............................................................................................................. 82

Vehicle Standards Regulation ............................................................................................... 82

Workplace fleet vehicles ................................................................................................................... 86

Heavy vehicles .................................................................................................................................... 90

Electric and autonomous vehicles ................................................................................................... 91

Committee view ................................................................................................................................. 93

Chapter 6—Driver behaviour and education............................................................................... 95

Driver behaviour ................................................................................................................................ 95

Distraction ........................................................................................................................................... 96

Mobile phone use - attitudes and enforcement ............................................................................. 97

Speed management ............................................................................................................................ 98

Speed limits ............................................................................................................................. 99

Management of speed limits on rural and regional roads ............................................. 100

Speed limits and vulnerable road users ............................................................................ 100

Point to point cameras .......................................................................................................... 102

Committee view ............................................................................................................................... 104

x

Technology ........................................................................................................................................ 106

Educating drivers about road safety technology ............................................................. 106

Committee view ............................................................................................................................... 107

Driver education and training ........................................................................................................ 108

Community-led road safety campaigns ............................................................................ 109

Road sharing ......................................................................................................................... 110

Heavy vehicle awareness ..................................................................................................... 110

First aid education ................................................................................................................ 111

Support for disadvantaged drivers ............................................................................................... 113

Committee view ............................................................................................................................... 114

Chapter 7—National Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030 .............................................................. 117

2011-2020 National Road Safety Strategy Inquiry ....................................................................... 117

Implementation of findings ............................................................................................................ 118

Office of Road Safety ....................................................................................................................... 119

Leadership ......................................................................................................................................... 121

Accountability .................................................................................................................................. 121

Targets ............................................................................................................................................... 122

Key Performance Indicators ........................................................................................................... 123

Stakeholder engagement ................................................................................................................. 123

Specific issues ................................................................................................................................... 124

Vulnerable road users .......................................................................................................... 124

Speed management .............................................................................................................. 124

Committee comment ....................................................................................................................... 125

Appendix 1—Submissions ............................................................................................................ 127

Appendix 2—Public hearings ....................................................................................................... 129

xi

List of Recommendations

Recommendation 1

2.60 The committee supports the findings of the NRSS Inquiry Report which recommended that the Australian government commit more funding to road safety.

Recommendation 2

2.90 The committee recommends the Australian Government work with the states and territories to develop a plan and timeline for the harmonisation of data, including definitions, relating to casualty crashes, road safety ratings, and speeding across the network. Such data should be published regularly.

Recommendation 3

2.106 The committee recommends that the Australian Government review its Black Spot Program funding conditions and site eligibility, with a view to making it more effective in proactively detecting and treating deficiencies in road infrastructure.

Recommendation 4

2.107 The committee recommends that the Australian Government increase funding to the Black Spot Program and increase the percentage allocated to regional and remote areas.

Recommendation 5

2.138 The committee recommends that the Australian Government works with states and territories and local government to ensure that all existing road safety programs are designed to implement Safe System principles across all government policy areas, including health and education.

Recommendation 6

2.139 The committee recommends that the commonwealth works with states and territories to ensure that funding avenues are identified that specifically support local councils to attract and retain the relevant skills and expertise required for development of all aspects of road safety policy, infrastructure and maintenance.

Recommendation 7

3.33 The committee recommends the establishment of a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Road Safety.

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Recommendation 8

4.112 The committee recommends the Australian Government ensure all Commonwealth funded road projects incorporate Network Design for Road Safety principles.

Recommendation 9

4.113 The committee recommends that the Australian Government work with state, territory and local governments to collect accurate data on the current condition and rate of change of Australian roads.

Recommendation 10

4.114 The committee recommends that Australian Government identify priority roads for dedicated and targeted road funding partnerships with the relevant jurisdictions to improve the star rating performance of road infrastructure for all road users.

Recommendation 11

4.115 The committee recommends that the Australian Government support and fund research into the effectiveness of varying road treatments in a wide range of circumstances, with a view to improving the road safety outcomes of infrastructure investment.

Recommendation 12

4.120 The committee recommends that the Australian Government establish a national consultative committee on motorcycle safety.

Recommendation 13

5.53 The committee recommends that the Australian Government, state and territory, and local governments review their procurement practices to ensure that the safety of vehicles is a key criterion in purchasing decisions.

Recommendation 14

5.59 The committee recommends the Australian Government review current timeframes for the mandatory introduction of safety features likely to have the greatest impact on reducing road trauma in Australia.

Recommendation 15

6.55 The committee recommends that the Office of Road Safety assist in the facilitation of research to identify the incidence, frequency and type of driver distraction in crash data.

xiii

Recommendation 16

6.56 The committee recommends that the Office of Road Safety work with states and territories to expand crash data collection and reporting on the incidence, frequency and type of driver distraction.

Recommendation 17

6.59 The committee recommends the Office of Road Safety works with states and territories to fund community awareness campaigns on the impact of driver distractions on road safety.

Recommendation 18

6.62 The committee recommends that the Australian Government continue to work with state and territory governments and police agencies to increase the number of point-to-point speed cameras and mobile phone detection cameras.

Recommendation 19

6.76 That committee recommends the Office of Road Safety liaise with the Transport and Infrastructure Council with a view to conducting further research into the potential benefits to be gained from various emerging driver assistance technologies.

Recommendation 20

6.109 The committee recommends that the Australian Government support future driver education campaigns with an emphasis on the development and demonstration of safe driving attitudes that address the following topics:

 road sharing and pedestrian, motorcycle, bicycle and heavy vehicle awareness;  safe driving in different environments, with an emphasis on regional and rural roads; and  the dangers of distracted driving and the need to remain alert to the

driving task.

Recommendation 21

6.111 The Committee recommends that Australian Government review funding for programs that reduce barriers to disadvantaged groups obtaining and retaining driver licences.

xiv

Recommendation 22

6.113 The committee recommends that the Australian Government work with state and territory governments to introduce compulsory first aid training as a condition of receiving a learner's permit or renewing a driver’s licence.

1

Chapter 1

Introduction and background

Committee establishment 1.1 The Joint Select Committee on Road Safety (committee) was established under a resolution of appointment which was passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on 1 August 2019.

1.2 The committee was established 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. It was determined that an interim report would be presented on or before 30 March 2020, and a final report by 31 July 2020.1

1.3 On 28 November 2019, the House of Representatives agreed to extend the interim reporting date to (on or before) 31 July 2020 and the final report date to (on or before) 31 October 2020. These extensions were agreed to in the Senate on 2 December 2019.2

1.4 The committee’s terms of reference were also clarified following the establishment of the committee, with both Houses agreeing that the committee would inquire into and report on:

(a) the effectiveness of existing road safety support services and programs, including opportunities to integrate Safe System principles into health, education, industry and transport policy;

(b) the impact of road trauma on the nation, including the importance of achieving zero deaths and serious injuries in remote and regional areas; (c) the possible establishment of a future parliamentary Standing Committee on Road Safety and its functions; (d) measures to ensure state, territory and local government road

infrastructure investment incorporates the Safe System principles; (e) road trauma and incident data collection and coordination across Australia; (f) recommending strategies, performance measures and targets for the next

National Road Safety Strategy; (g) recommendations for the role of the newly established Office of Road Safety; and (h) other measures to support the Australian Parliament’s ongoing resolve to

reduce incidents on our roads, with a focus on the recommendations from

1 Journals of the Senate, No. 11, 1 August 2019, pp. 352-354.

2 Journals of the Senate, No. 32, 2 December 2019, pp. 1025-1027.

2

the Inquiry into the effectiveness of the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020.3

Conduct of the inquiry 1.5 Information about the inquiry was made available on the committee's webpage. The committee also wrote to Commonwealth, state and territory government departments and agencies, specialist and industry groups,

research organisations, road services organisations, insurance agencies, industry groups and community groups to invite submissions.

1.6 The committee received 55 submissions to the inquiry from individuals and organisations. These submissions are listed in Appendix 1.

1.7 The committee also conducted five public hearings, based out of Canberra on the following dates:

 20, 21 and 22 July 2020;  17 August 2020; and  20 August 2020.

1.8 The transcripts from these hearings, together with submissions, answers to questions on notice and additional information are available on the committee’s website. Witnesses who provided evidence at the hearings are listed in Appendix 2.

Acknowledgements 1.9 The committee would like to thank all the organisations and individuals who contributed to the inquiry, particularly those who provided written submissions or gave evidence at public hearings. These contributions greatly

assisted the committee in its deliberations.

Report structure 1.10 This report is comprised of seven chapters, as follows:

 Chapter 1 outlines the referral and conduct of the inquiry, and provides information regarding road trauma in Australia. It details a number of recent inquiries into Australian road safety, the current road safety policy framework and the coordination of safety responsibilities. The chapter also considers the National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS).

 Chapter 2 examines the issues around jurisdictional cohesion, state and territory partnerships, Safe System principles and the role of the Office of Road Safety (ORS). It provides an overview of road safety programs (including the Black Spot Program) and their effectiveness, and examines the issue of road safety funding—particularly in relation to local

3 Journals of the Senate, No. 32, 2 December 2019, pp. 1025-1027.

3

government. The issue of data—its collection, harmonisation, monitoring, and use in reporting is also detailed in Chapter 2.  Chapter 3 considers the merits of establishing a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Road Safety (Standing Committee), and outlines

stakeholder's views regarding the Standing Committee’s functions and how it should operate.  Chapter 4 details the evidence regarding Australia's road infrastructure and road quality, and considers the improvements that should be implemented

to benefit vulnerable road users.  Chapter 5 examines the issues around Australia's vehicle fleet management, including the management of heavy vehicles, electric vehicles and

autonomous vehicles.  Chapter 6 provides comment on the issues of driver behaviour, education and training, and considers the role of technology and targeted driver

education in improving road safety outcomes.  Chapter 7 outlines stakeholders' observations and the committee's views in relation to the focus of the NRSS for 2021-2030, including the strategy's

targets, key performance indicators and data collection and management.

1.11 The committee makes a number of recommendations throughout the report.

Road trauma in Australia 1.12 On average, more than 1200 people are killed and at least 36 000 are hospitalised each year as a result of crashes on Australian roads.4 As outlined below, in 2019 two-thirds of these occurred on rural and regional areas.5

1.13 The majority of the evidence received by the committee concerning road trauma in metropolitan Australia, was in relation to the disproportionate impact of those road users outside these areas. As such, and in line with the committee's terms of reference, any geographical focus of this report is largely on the efforts need to make rural and regional roads as safe as possible.

1.14 Australia has seen a progressive decline in the number of deaths and serious injuries on Australian roads over the past four decades.6 In 2019, 1188 people died on Australian roads, compared to 3798 deaths in 1970.7 Taking into account population increases over time, the annual rate of deaths on the road

4 Royal Automobile Club (RAC), Submission 31, p. 13.

5 Para. 1.20.

6 Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF), Submission 7, p. 5.

7 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications,

Submission 38, p. 6.

4

network has reduced from 30.4 to 4.7 deaths per 100 000 people between 1970 and 2019.8

Stagnation in improving road safety outcomes 1.15 Since 2015, however, the long term decline in the number of people seriously injured or killed on our roads appears to have stalled.9 A September 2019 report prepared by the Australian Automobile Association (AAA), titled

Reviving Road Safety, identified that there has been an increase in the number of people killed on the road network each year since 2015:

In the past four years [between 2015 and 2019], the road toll for the 12 months ending June 30 has been higher than it was in the 12 months ending June 2015.

In the second half of 2015, the road toll rose and has remained at higher levels ever since, ending decades of continuous improvement.10

1.16 In its submission, the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) noted that from 2015, Australia has failed to be on track to meet the NRSS target of a 30 per cent reduction in fatalities.11 Figure 1.1 below illustrates the fatality trend since 2010, against the targets.

Figure 1.1 Road fatality trend in Australia and targeted trend, 2010-2021

Source: Royal Automobile Club of Victoria, Submission 17, p. 3.

8 Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF), Submission 7, p. 5; Australian Automobile Association

(AAA), Submission 27, p. 1.

9 Insurance Australia Group (IAG), Submission 34, p 1.

10 Australian Automobile Association (AAA), Submission 27, Attachment 1: Reviving Road Safety:

Federal priorities to reduce crashes and save lives, September 2019, p. 9.

11 Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17, p. 3.

5

1.17 While the number of people killed on Australia's roads in 2019 was still fewer than the annual average for the preceding ten years, 53 more people were killed than in 2018 (a 4.7 per cent increase).12 Some states and territories also recorded a marked increase in the number of deaths on the road. In Victoria, for example, there was a 25.8 per cent increase in the number of people killed in 2019, compared to 2018.13

1.18 It was suggested by some submitters that there appears to be a level of tolerance in Australia regarding the number of deaths that occur on our roads.14 The Royal Automotive Club of Western Australia (RACWA) described the current situation as "one of the largest societal plagues" that faces Australia, and noted that:

Australians seemingly accept a level of trauma on our roads that would never be considered acceptable in any other aspect of life.15

1.19 The Amy Gillett Foundation expressed a similar sentiment:

There is an acknowledgement of the trauma and tragedy of deaths on our roads, but as Dr John Crozier said, the trauma is a "drip-feed", and while as many people are killed in Australia every year as would be killed in just one plane crash, this small incremental number has become a tolerated part of road use that largely goes unnoticed by the Australian public unless the person killed is a known to them (family or friend) or a celebrity is killed.16

Road trauma in regional and remote Australia 1.20 Road travel is an essential element of life in Australia, being such a geographically diverse and large country. The RACWA commented on the importance and prevalence of road travel in regional and remote areas:

It is often the case that road networks provide a vital, even only, connection of one community to another. In the absence of alternatives, the private passenger car will be the dominant mode of transport, with high proportions of heavy trucks being an economic lifeline transporting goods from farm to market and back again from manufacture to consumer.17

1.21 However, evidence presented to the inquiry overwhelmingly indicated that people driving on regional and remote roads continue to be disproportionately impacted by road trauma. It was emphasised by submitters that while only 28 per cent of Australia's population live in regional and remote areas,

12 The George Institute for Global Health, Submission 40, [p. 2].

13 Amy Gillett Foundation, Submission 26, p. 3.

14 The George Institute for Global Health, Submission 40, [p. 2].

15 Royal Automobile Club (RAC), Submission 31, p. 10.

16 Amy Gillett Foundation, Submission 26, p. 3.

17 Australian Road Research Board (ARRB), Submission 32, p. 10.

6

two-thirds of all deaths on Australian roads in 2019 occurred on regional or remote roads.18

1.22 Austroads and the Northern Territory Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics referred to the findings of the Austroads report National View on Regional and Remote Safety, which indicated that the fatality rate per capita is nearly five times greater in regional and remote areas than major cities, and is highest in very remote areas.19

1.23 Figure 1.2 below, produced by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE), highlights the disparity in road fatalities between metropolitan, and regional and remote areas.

Figure 1.2 Fatality rate per 100,000 population by jurisdiction and ABS Remoteness Areas, 2017

Source: Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics, Road Trauma Australia 2018 Statistical Summary (2019)

1.24 The AAA highlighted that when compared to the road deaths per population in other OECD countries, the number of deaths on regional and remote roads in Australia fared poorly. The AAA noted that:

In 2016, outer regional Australia recorded 14.20 road deaths per 100,000 population, remote Australia 16.68 per 100,000 and very remote Australia

18 Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF), Submission 7, p. 7; The Australasian New Car

Assessment Program (ANCAP), Submission 14, p. 7; Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17, pp. 4-5; Australian Automobile Association (AAA), Submission 27, p. 3; Royal Automobile Club (RAC), Submission 31, p. 3; Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, Submission 38, p. 4; Austroads, Submission 39, p. 4; Australasian College of Road Safety (ACRS), Submission 42, p. 6.

19 Austroads, Submission 39, p. 4; Northern Territory Department of Infrastructure, Planning and

Logistics, Submission 19, p. 4.

7

34.58 per 100,000 population. This compares to 11.97 road deaths per 100,000 for Chile - the worst performing OECD nation.20

Road trauma rates in regional Australia 1.25 Statistics show that not only Australia-wide, but within each jurisdiction, road trauma is disproportionately experienced on regional and remote roads. For example, the RAC reported on the figures for Western Australia, observing

that 20 per cent of the population lives in regional Western Australia but 60 per cent of all road deaths in 2019 occurred in regional parts of the state.21

1.26 In Queensland, 59 per cent of road deaths from 2014 to 2018 occurred on rural roads, with data available indicating that in 2019 this figure rose to over 60 per cent.22

1.27 The Inquiry into the NRSS 2011-2020 reported that while much of the road safety benefit in the past decade has been associated with improvements to the national and state-managed major road system together with metropolitan centres:

…driving on a local road involves an increased risk of being seriously injured that is 1.5 times higher than driving on a state road.23

1.28 As highlighted by the Northern Territory’s Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics, the Northern Territory has recorded the most road deaths of all Australian jurisdictions. The Northern Territory Department advised that in 2019, the Northern Territory recorded 14.64 deaths per 100 000 population, "which is over three times the national rate of 4.68 over the same period". The Northern Territory Department also indicated that over the last decade, 72 per cent of fatal crashes in the Northern Territory occurred in regional and remote areas.24

1.29 The impact of road trauma on regional Victoria was described by the RACV, which noted that while many people were travelling through regional areas, the evidence showed that it was predominately locals who were dying on regional roads. The RACV pointed out that:

In 2019, around 73 per cent of the 146 deaths in regional Victoria alone were people driving in their local region close to their home addresses, with run-off road and head-on crashes resulting in 94 fatalities, while 101 people died in high-speed zones.25

20 Australian Automobile Association (AAA), Submission 27, p 3.

21 Royal Automobile Club (RAC), Submission 31, p. 3.

22 Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Submission 47, p. 4.

23 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications,

Submission 38, p. 6.

24 Northern Territory Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics, Submission 19, p. 1.

25 Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17, p. 5.

8

1.30 It has also been observed that there are additional challenges in effectively improving road safety and dealing with road trauma in regional and remote areas, including a low population density, distance and long road networks.26

Cost of road trauma 1.31 Road-related trauma places a significant financial and social burden on the community. Stakeholders, such as the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) noted that:

The global motor vehicle industry recognises that whilst motor vehicles contribute positively to societies in many ways, road trauma from accidents has an unacceptable human, economic and social cost for our societies.27

Financial costs 1.32 The quantified financial cost of road trauma on the Australian economy in 2016 was estimated to be $33.16 billion, which consisted of:

 $9.38 billion in property damage costs;  $10.2 billion in fatality costs; and  $13.58 billion in injury costs.28

1.33 A recent inquiry into the 2011-2020 NRSS also found that:

Failing to improve our current situation will result in 12,000 people killed and 360,000 admitted to hospital at a cost of $300 billion [nationally] over the next decade.29

1.34 The RACV noted that these estimates were likely to be conservative, given the "poor and inconsistent data collection across jurisdictions especially for serious injury".30

1.35 Turning to the financial impact of road trauma in each jurisdiction, it is estimated that the cost of road trauma to the state of Western Australia is between $900 million and $2 billion per annum,31 and $3.7 billion each year in

26 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety

Strategy 2011-2020, Final Report, September 2018, p. 63.

27 Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), Submission 29, [p. 5].

28 Royal Automobile Club (RAC), Submission 31, p. 2, citing Frederick Litchfield, The cost of road

crashes in Australia 2016: An overview of safety strategies, Report, 26 May 2017, p. iv.

29 Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17, Attachment 1, p. 6; Associate Professor

Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020, Final Report, September 2018, p. 5. The Final Report is discussed later in this report.

30 Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17, p. 4.

31 Royal Automobile Club (RAC), Submission 31, p. 3.

9

Victoria.32 In the Northern Territory, it is estimated that a single road death costs approximately $2.8 million.33

1.36 Road Trauma Support Services Victoria (RTSSV) estimated that the lifetime cost per incident case for spinal cord injuries caused by a road incident range between $6.1 million and $9.1 million. RTSSV's submission highlights the value that can be derived from ensuring that all Australians have access to post-trauma care.34

Social and psychological impacts 1.37 Beyond the financial cost, the emotional and social cost of road trauma on the community is far-reaching and long-lasting. The RACV observed that:

Beyond the numbers, the impact of road trauma is felt daily by the survivors of road crashes, whose injuries could have been prevented by more successful implementations of the Safe Systems on our roads. For those who do not survive, the ripple effect of road trauma is felt emotionally and monetarily by family and friends who have lost loved ones.35

1.38 The Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) noted the far-reaching impact that a road trauma can have on a local community:

The impact of a crash, particularly on rural and regional communities will often spread beyond the victim and their immediate family, with a tragedy affecting friends and work colleagues, local social networks, community groups and clubs. Those who are seriously injured will require ongoing medical and social support during their rehabilitation and recovery, and this may continue for months; for those who suffer a catastrophic injury, there may need to be ongoing support for years, and even the rest of their life.36

1.39 The committee was told that the ripple effect of road trauma in regional and remote communities is often compounded by the fact that there is limited access to the necessary medical, rehabilitation and support services. Those in regional and remote areas frequently spend significant time travelling to regional centres or capital cities to access the required care.37

1.40 While the psychological impact of a road injury may be obvious for the individuals involved, as well as their family and friends, the Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF) noted that road trauma can also negatively impact

32 Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17, p. 4.

33 Northern Territory Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics, Submission 19, p. 4.

34 Road Trauma Support Services Victoria (RTSSV), Submission 24, pp. 3-5.

35 Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17, p. 4.

36 Australian Road Research Board (ARRB), Submission 32, p. 9.

37 Australian Road Research Board (ARRB), Submission 32, p. 9.

10

the psychological and potentially physical wellbeing of first responders, emergency services personnel and medical staff who care for the injured and support their families.38

1.41 Streets Alive Yarra submitted that in addition to the immediate physical and emotional trauma, road trauma has a broader impact on the nation, including:

 ongoing care of those affected by physical trauma;  dissuading people from choosing lower cost forms of transport, such as walking, cycling or using public transport, owing to the risk of death or serious injury from being struck by people driving cars;

 worse population health outcomes (feeling unhealthy and unhappy, less able to work);  higher population health costs owing to a population that is less healthy than it could be; and  lower tourism revenue, owing to cities that are less attractive than they

could be.39

Improving road safety in Australia 1.42 Since the mid-1990s, there have been numerous reviews into Australia's ongoing road safety issues. Various strategies—with the aim of reducing incidents on our roads—have also been implemented during that time.

1.43 Despite these reviews and strategies, and a significant number of recommendations put forward to reduce road accident rates, there remains room for improvement in implementing these recommendations and doing so more promptly.

1.44 Some of the recent reviews and strategies are detailed below.

National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS) 1.45 In 1992, federal, state and territory transport Ministers established the first NRSS, which "provided a framework for national collaboration on road safety improvement".40 The NRSS is a strategy that details high-level directions and

interventions designed to drive national road safety for the upcoming decade.

1.46 The first NRSS covered the period from 1992 to 2001, with the second strategy in place from 2001 to 2010. The third, and current, NRSS commenced in 2011 and is due to expire at the end of 2020.

1.47 Under the second strategy, Australia was one of the first countries to adopt the Safe System approach to road safety improvement. This system:

38 Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF), Submission 7, p. 5.

39 Streets Alive Yarra, Submission 12, p. 5.

40 Australian Transport Council, National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020, May 2011,

https://www.roadsafety.gov.au/rsa (accessed 9 October 2020).

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… takes a holistic view of the road transport system and the interactions of its various elements. It aspires to create a road transport system in which human mistakes do not result in death or serious injury.41

1.48 The current NRSS (2011-2020) aims to reduce the annual number of both deaths and serious injuries on Australian roads by at least 30 per cent.42 When these targets were developed, they were considered ambitious, but achievable.43

1.49 Unlike the second strategy, which set a target for fatalities only,44 the current NRSS gives greater attention to the serious injury dimension of the road trauma problem. The NRSS noted, however, that the level of trauma reduction that could be achieved by 2020 would depend on the costs and policy changes that the community was prepared to accept in return for a safer road transport system.45

1.50 As the NRSS is a strategy, not an implementation plan, it details high-level directions and interventions to drive national road safety by the end of 2020.46 The NRSS has a focus on areas where there is evidence that a sustained, coordinated effort can lead to large gains. For example, the NRSS notes that:

… there is currently no reliable, national collection of serious injury crash data, largely because of jurisdictional differences in injury definitions and reporting arrangements.47

1.51 The current NRSS states that while its success will be reflected in the actual reduction in the number of serious casualties, a range of Safety Performance Indictors (SPIs) have also been established. Several other high-level outcome indicators will be used to track performance over the decade, including the number of:

 deaths/serious injuries resulting from road crashes;  road crashes resulting in deaths/serious injuries;  deaths/serious injuries per 100 000 population;  deaths/serious injuries per 100 million vehicle-kilometres travelled; and

41 Australian Transport Council, National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020, May 2011,

https://www.roadsafety.gov.au/rsa (accessed 9 October 2020).

42 Australian Transport Council, National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020, May 2011, p. 32.

43 Australian Transport Council, National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020, May 2011, p. 3.

44 The 2001-2010 National Road Safety Strategy set a target of reducing the annual rate of road

fatalities per 100 000 population by 40 per cent. This is equivalent to an approximately 30 per cent reduction in the absolute number of fatalities. The actual reduction achieved in absolute numbers was 24 per cent.

45 Australian Transport Council, National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020, May 2011, p. 3.

46 Australian Transport Council, National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020, pp. 41 and 54. See also

National Road Safety Strategy, Strategic Directions, https://www.roadsafety.gov.au/nrss/directions.

47 Australian Transport Council, National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020, May 2011, p. 33.

12

 deaths/serious injuries per 10 000 registered vehicles.48

The Safe System approach 1.52 The Safe System approach, which has been integrated into the NRSS since its second iteration, takes a "holistic view of the road transport system" and the:

… interactions among roads and roadsides, travel speeds, vehicles and road users. It is an inclusive approach that caters for all groups using the road system, including drivers, motorcyclists, passengers, pedestrians, cyclists, and commercial and heavy vehicle drivers. Consistent with our long-term road safety vision, it recognises that people will always make mistakes and may have road crashes—but the system should be forgiving and those crashes should not result in death or serious injury.49

1.53 The four main pillars of the Safe System are Safe Roads, Safe Speeds, Safe Vehicles and Safe People. Progress in meeting the targets of the NRSS will be assessed against these specific four areas within the Safe System, including:

 number of deaths from:

 head-on crashes;  single-vehicle crashes;  intersection crashes; and  crashes occurring on metropolitan, regional and remote roads;

 number of:

 young driver and motorcycle rider deaths;  older driver and motorcycle deaths;  motorcyclist deaths;  bicyclist deaths;  pedestrian deaths; and  death from crashes involving a heavy vehicle;

 number of deaths from crashes where vehicle speed was a contributory factor;  an assessment of the:

 average age of the Australian vehicle fleet;  percentage of new vehicles sold with a 5-star ANCAP rating; and  percentage of new vehicles sold with key safety features; and

 the number of:

 drivers and motorcycle riders killed who had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the legal limit;

48 Australian Transport Council, National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020, May 2011, p. 45.

49 National Road Safety Strategy, Safe System principles, https://www.roadsafety.gov.au/nrss/safe-system (accessed 9 October 2020).

13

 deaths from crashes involving an unlicensed driver or motorcycle rider; and  vehicle occupants killed who were not wearing a restraint.50

NRSS 2021-2030 1.54 Work has commenced on the development of the next NRSS for 2021-2030, and it is expected to be finalised in early 2021, along with a National Action Plan for the next three years (National Action Plans are discussed below). The new

strategy will aim to take a "new approach to road safety in Australia", and will recognise that road safety is "not solely a transport problem". In addition, it has been recognised that:

We need long-term cultural change towards road safety, to make road safety 'business as usual' and fostering a road safety culture across Australian society.

[The new strategy] is expected to include a set of targets and priorities to improve road safety in Australia and get the settings right for road safety as we move towards our long-term goal of zero deaths and injuries on our roads.51

1.55 Chapter 7 of this report will consider the development of the next NRSS, and the evidence received from stakeholders regarding the key elements which should be included in the next strategy.

National Road Safety Action Plan 2018-2020 1.56 The National Road Safety Action Plan 2018-2020 (Action Plan) was developed to support the implementation of the NRSS. The Action Plan details priority national actions to be taken by governments over the final three years of the

current NRSS (2018-2020). Prior to this, a National Road Safety Action Plan was implemented for the three years 2015 to 2017, detailing a range of priority national actions.52

1.57 The 2018-2020 Action Plan contains nine Priority Actions, which all jurisdictions agreed must be completed in order to assist with meeting the NRSS targets for road trauma reduction. The nine Priority Actions are listed below:

(1) review speed limits on high risk regional and remote roads, in consultation with the community; (2) target infrastructure funding towards safety-focused initiatives to reduce trauma on regional roads;

50 Australian Transport Council, National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020, May 2011.

51 National Road Safety Strategy, National Road Safety Strategy 2021-30,

https://www.roadsafety.gov.au/nrss/nrss-2021-30 (accessed 9 October 2020).

52 National Road Safety Strategy, National Road Safety Action Plans,

https://www.roadsafety.gov.au/action-plan (accessed 9 October 2020).

14

(3) implement safety treatments to reduce trauma from crashes at urban intersections; (4) increase deployment of Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) in both heavy and light vehicles; (5) increase roadside drug testing significantly in all states and

territories; (6) reduce speed limits to 40km/h or lower in pedestrian and cyclist places; (7) increase deployment of point-to-point and mobile cameras to

achieve safe travel on Australia's road network; (8) improve heavy vehicle safety through improvements to licensing arrangements and fatigue laws; and (9) increase the market uptake of safer new and used vehicles and

emerging vehicle technologies with high safety benefits.53

1.58 Responsibility for implementation of the nine Priority Actions is shared between the Commonwealth, states and territories, local government, Austroads, the police, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) and the National Transport Commission (NTC).54

Inquiry into the 2011-2020 National Road Safety Strategy 1.59 In 2015 and 2016 there were increases in the number of road crash deaths and serious injuries resulting from road accidents. It was observed at the time that "Australia's road safety performance has stalled".55

1.60 As a result, on 8 September 2017, then Transport Minister—the Hon. Darren Chester, MP—announced the commencement of an independent inquiry into the effectiveness of the 2011-2020 NRSS (the NRSS Inquiry). The inquiry into the NRSS was co-chaired by two independent experts—Dr John Crozier, Chair of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons' Trauma Committee, and Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley, Director of the Centre for Automotive Safety Research at the University of Adelaide.56

53 Transport and Infrastructure Council and National Road Safety Strategy, National Road Safety

Action Plan 2018-2020, May 2018, pp. 5-10. The Action Plan also included a list of Other Critical Actions, which represent either extensions of existing national efforts or supporting actions that are important to continue, in addition to the key national priority list; see pp. 1, 11-13.

54 Transport and Infrastructure Council and National Road Safety Strategy, National Road Safety

Action Plan 2018-2020, May 2018, pp. 6-10.

55 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety

Strategy 2011-2020, Final Report, September 2018, p. 4.

56 Doctor John Crozier and Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley were assisted by two Principal

Advisers—Mr Lauchlan McIntosh, AM (President of the Australasian College of Road Safety) and Mr Rob McInerney (Chief Executive of the International Road Assessment Program).

15

1.61 The inquiry was tasked with examining the causes and key factors behind the increase in death and injury rates in 2015 and 2016, and with reviewing the effectiveness of the NRSS and the 2015-2017 Action Plan, "with particular reference to the increase in deaths and serious injuries from road crashes over the last two years". In addition, the inquiry was issued with terms of reference to:

 identify issues and priorities for consideration in development of a post-2020 NRSS and 2018-2020 Action Plan, focusing on how Australia can recognise and move towards a safe road transport system which minimises harm to all users; and

 advise on arrangements for the management of road safety and the NRSS, looking at best coordination and use of the capacity and contributions of all partners.57

1.62 The co-chairs of the NRSS Inquiry provided the Inquiry's final report to the Commonwealth Government on 12 September 2018, titled Final Report of the Inquiry into the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020 (NRSS Inquiry Report).58 The report contained the following twelve recommendations:

 create strong national leadership by appointing a Cabinet minister with specific multi-agency responsibility to address the hidden epidemic of road trauma including its impact on the health system;

 establish a national road safety entity reporting to the Cabinet minister with responsibility for road safety;  commit to a minimum $3 billion a year road safety fund;  set a vision zero target for 2050 with an interim target of vision zero for all

major capital city CBD areas, and high-volume highways by 2030;  establish and commit to key performance indicators in time for the next strategy that measure and report how harm can be eliminated in the system,

and that are published annually;  undertake a National Road Safety Governance Review by March 2019;  implement rapid deployment and accelerated uptake of proven vehicle

safety technologies and innovation;  accelerate the adoption of speed management initiatives that support harm elimination;  invest in road safety focused infrastructure, safe system and mobility

partnerships with state, territory and local governments that accelerate the elimination of high-risk roads;

57 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety

Strategy 2011-2020, Final Report, September 2018, p. 4.

58 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety

Strategy 2011-2020, Final Report, September 2018.

16

 make road safety a genuine part of business as usual within Commonwealth, state, territory and local government;  resource key road safety enablers and road safety innovation initiatives; and  implement life-saving partnerships with countries in the Indo-Pacific and

globally as appropriate to reduce road trauma.59

1.63 On 1 July 2019, in response to the NRSS Inquiry recommendations, the Commonwealth Government established the Office of Road Safety (ORS) with the aim of providing "national leadership and coordination to improve road safety outcomes".60

1.64 The findings and recommendations from the NRSS Inquiry were consistently and heavily drawn upon in submissions and evidence to the committee, and will be discussed further throughout this report.

Review of the National Road Safety Governance Arrangements 1.65 Following the NRSS Inquiry in November 2018, the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development announced a Review of the National Road Safety Governance Arrangements (Governance Review), to examine

whether Australia had the appropriate governance arrangements in place to deliver the commitments made by governments to mainstream road safety in line with the Safe System approach.61

1.66 The Governance Review was completed in mid-2019, and endorsed for publication by the Transport and Infrastructure Council (TIC) on 2 August 2019. The Review made the following key findings:

 the Australian Government had not provided sufficiently strong leadership, coordination or advocacy on road safety to drive national trauma reductions, and the TIC had not been used to enable cross-jurisdiction decision-making to drive the national harm elimination agenda;

 there was a clear need for greater leadership, strengthened management, heightened accountability and more effective coordination to reduce road trauma;

 the Safe System approach had been adopted, but not ingrained or mainstreamed within government business by federal, state, territory or local governments, with calls that this had to be rectified, and the Safe System strategy and goals implemented and embedded at all levels of government;

59 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety

Strategy 2011-2020, Final Report, September 2018, p. 8.

60 The ORS and its functions are discussed further in Chapter 2. Office of Road Safety, Taking the Lead

on Road Safety, https://www.officeofroadsafety.gov.au/.

61 National Road Safety Strategy, 2019 Review into National Road Safety Governance Arrangements,

https://www.roadsafety.gov.au/nrss/2019-governance-review (accessed 9 October 2020).

17

 road safety teams at all levels of government lacked influence across the Safe System pillars and within their own organisation (for example, road safety teams lacked influence over transport infrastructure design). The Review found that the Australian Government could play a significant role in driving connections through its partnership agreements with states and territories;

 local government, despite owning most Australian roads, was not sufficiently resourced or engaged to deliver road safety;  the Australian Government needed to lift its efforts to improve the uptake of new safety technology in the Australian new vehicle fleet (via faster

legislative implementation);  development of better performance information was needed, as well as a national framework for monitoring and evaluation, to better measure,

target, monitor and evaluate data and performance, which would provide a results framework to support the objectives of the next NRSS—the Australian Government could take the lead on this through the ORS; and  further work was needed to explore the utility of a national no-blame investigator for heavy vehicle crashes.62

1.67 The findings of the Governance Review continue to be raised as matters of concern in addressing road trauma, and similar points were made by numerous submitters and witnesses who engaged with this inquiry. The committee considers these matters throughout the report.

62 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development, Review of National Road

Safety Governance Arrangements, Final Report, June 2019, p. 4.

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Chapter 2

Jurisdictional cohesion

2.1 Following their assessment of the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020 (and the supporting 2015-17 action plan), authors—Dr John Crozier and Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley—stressed the importance of strong leadership, strategic planning, national collaboration, improved implementation and increased accountability, arguing that these factors are central to Australia achieving improvements in road safety.1

2.2 Crozier and Woolley described the approach to road safety over the past decade as an "implementation failure".2 Their report also concluded that the scale and leverage that can be gained by embedding road safety in "business as usual" activity has yet to be achieved and observed that, with a few notable exceptions, the tools, frameworks and quality control needed to guide harm minimisation, "remain in their infancy and are not widespread".3

2.3 Crozier and Woolley's review determined that an agreed strategic response to road safety would be an "absolutely vital" element in any new road safety strategy. The NRSS Inquiry Report also emphasised the need for all levels of government, the private sector and key road safety stakeholders to support systematic change and become part of the solution: noting that "otherwise the Safe System [approach] will continue to behave as a collection of Safe Silos."4

2.4 The NRSS Inquiry Report pointed to recent increases in deaths and serious injuries on Australia's roads, and argued that the increase proves that the resources currently allocated to road safety are not adequate.5 Based on this finding, the Report made a series of recommendations, which centred on road

1 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety

Strategy 2011-2020, Final Report, September 2018 and Dr John Crozier and Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley, Committee Hansard, 20 July 2020, p. 1.

2 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety

Strategy 2011-2020, Final Report, September 2018, p. 7.

3 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety

Strategy 2011-2020, Final Report, September 2018, p. 6.

4 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety

Strategy 2011-2020, Final Report, September 2018, p. 6.

5 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety

Strategy 2011-2020, Final Report, September 2018, p. 38.

20

safety investment and the importance of it being provided in a targeted, cost-efficient and cost effective way.6

2.5 In evidence provided to the committee, Professor Woolley made clear his view that while "stimulus packages and additional funding in road safety are certainly most welcome", it is the "systematic changes identified in the inquiry that will create the necessary conditions for ultimate success".7

Federal, whole-of-government leadership, strategy and investment 2.6 The need for systematic change was a view shared by stakeholder groups. In evidence, stakeholders advocated for a strategic, cohesive and consistent approach to road safety, and stressed the need for a clear strategy, federal,

whole-of-government leadership and an appropriate level of investment.8

2.7 In line with the call for strong, national leadership, the NRSS Inquiry Report recommended the appointment of a Cabinet Minister for road safety to "prioritise the issue and ensure it is addressed by government".9

2.8 The newly-appointed Minister would take responsibility for prioritising strong strategic alliances across states and territories, and for ensuring that jurisdictional and national actions complement each other.

2.9 While state and territory and local governments have a role to play in relation to strategic planning and implementation, the Minister would take the lead in establishing and monitoring road safety performance indicators in relation to:

 federal road infrastructure;  federal, vehicle-related research and development projects;  road funding (across all jurisdictions); and  federal transport-related contracts.10

2.10 Stakeholder groups emphasised the importance of a united front when it comes to road safety and stressed the need for unity and consistency across federal, state and territory and local government jurisdictions.11

6 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety

Strategy 2011-2020, Final Report, September 2018, p. 38.

7 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley, Committee Hansard, 20 July 2020, p. 1.

8 See, for example, Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF), Submission 7; International Road

Assessment Programme (iRAP), Submission 52; Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA), Submission 53; NSW Government, Submission 50 and Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), Submission 29.

9 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety

Strategy 2011-2020, Final Report, September 2018, p. 34.

10 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety

Strategy 2011-2020, Final Report, September 2018, p. 34 and Doctor John Crozier and Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley, Committee Hansard, 20 July 2020, p. 1.

21

2.11 More specifically, stakeholders argued that strong, federal,

whole-of-government involvement would be needed to establish effective road safety strategies, prioritise investment and ensure the efficient implementation of those strategies.12

2.12 The Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF), for example, argued that it has been well established in the international road safety community that road safety requires two things: "the need to improve the transfer of information, and the establishment of a firm leadership structure". Further, it was argued that addressing road trauma and promoting road safety requires increased collaboration across all road safety stakeholder groups and a united effort to eliminate death and injuries on Australia's roads.13

Safe System principles 2.13 Stakeholders told the committee that the Commonwealth has a number of options by which to guarantee that state and territory and local governments incorporate Safe System principles. There was clear support for the

recommendation made by Woolley and Crozier that road safety—specifically the adoption of a Safe Systems approach—needs to be made a legitimate part of 'business as usual' within Commonwealth, state and territory and local governments.14

2.14 The Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) acknowledged that behaviour "that leads to road crashes is not solely a road transport problem", noting that "social, economic and health factors also shape behaviour".15

2.15 TMR submitted that there are "rich opportunities to reach people with interventions appropriate to their life and situation and take a 'whole of life' approach to influence generational change and culture". TMR pointed to initiatives that are designed to support disadvantaged individuals and communities to progress through the licensing system, which can also have the benefit of facilitating social inclusion and access to employment opportunities.16

11 See, for example, Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA), Submission 41;

Australasian Trauma Society (ATS), Submission 10 and Australasian College of Road Safety (ACRS), Submission 42.

12 See, for example Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF), Submission 7; International Road

Assessment Programme (iRAP), Submission 52 and NSW Government, Submission 50.

13 Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF), Submission 7, p. 9.

14 See, for example Streets Alive Yarra, Submission 12; The George Institute for Global Health,

Australia, Submisson 40, and NSW Government, Submission 50.

15 Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Submission 47, p. 3.

16 Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Submission 47, p. 3.

22

2.16 TMR indicated that as a department, it increasingly takes a 'systems' approach to identify the broader context of road crashes and bring these into road safety policy and development. TMR noted, for example, that it had undertaken a project to explore in more detail the complexities of driver distraction. The committee was told that:

The project analysed the impact and causes of mobile phone distraction, including who does it and why they choose to do it. A driver's decision to use their phone while driving is influenced by different factors in a complex environment, comprised of vehicles, devices, insurance, access to the telecommunications network, employers, infrastructure, regulations, enforcement and social attitudes.17

2.17 TMR argued therefore that:

Just as driver distraction is influenced by multiple elements, its effective deterrence requires a multi-faceted approach, including cooperation between levels of government, industry and other stakeholders.18

2.18 Representations made by the International Road Assessment Program (iRAP) made it clear that, "in simple terms, Vision Zero and Safe System outcomes will be achieved when we have 5-star road users, in 5-star vehicles on 5-star roads and the safe speeds to ensure no one is killed or injured".19 The committee was told that, from an iRAP perspective, the areas which are key to integrating Safe System principles include:

 corporate, industry and community use and access to AusRAP Risk Mapping and Star Rating Data to provide the safest route and mode-choice for journeys;

 spot star ratings completed at fatal and serious injury crash scenes and routinely reported to the Standing Committee and the Office of Road Safety, and available in the public domain to support discussions;

 design for outcomes, not a design to 'standards'. This would involve a new approach where the start point for designs is a 5-star performance level and design teams and funding agencies must then justify anything less than 5-star highlighting any 'cost savings' associated with the increased death and injury expected over 20 years and why it is the design recommended;

 integration of Safe System and AusRAP data and knowledge in the education system; and  building on TAC/iRAP Injury Dashboard and engaging Health Ministers and professionals to understand lifetime costs of road trauma and impact on

resources.20

17 Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Submission 47, p. 3.

18 Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Submission 47, p. 3.

19 International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP), Submission 52, [p. 9].

20 International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP), Submission 52, [pp 9-10].

23

2.19 Melbourne group, Streets Alive Yarra, pointed to what it described as Australia's "vertical fiscal imbalance", and noted that local government is responsible for expenditure to maintain or improve streets and roads, but does not benefit from reduced population health costs. Rather, it was argued, state and federal governments benefit from this current situation.21

2.20 The group submitted that the solution is to remove the vertical fiscal imbalance by providing sustained funding to local government to invest in Safe System principles. It was suggested that some ways to ensure that both state and territory and local governments incorporate Safe System principles include:

 the provision of sustained, long-term funding to local government for road infrastructure that aligns with Safe System—such as 30 km/h superblocks, continuous footpaths, protected bicycle lanes and level access tram stops;

 the provision of sustained long-term funding to state government for road infrastructure that aligns with Safe System, such as arterial roads with fully separated and protected bicycle lanes;

 the requirement for state and local governments to reduce speed limits in accordance with Safe System;  linking federal road funding to requirements to deliver road infrastructure that is rated at least five stars by the International or Australian Road

Assessment Program (iRAP or AusRAP); and  provide funding to each local government in Australia to fund an iRAP or AusRAP hazard identification and risk assessment review of a selection of

representative streets in their region, such as a shopping street, an access street and a residential street—which will build the evidence base for investment in infrastructure that aligns with Safe System.22

2.21 The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) submitted, however, that the concept of road infrastructure investment 'incorporating Safe System principles' has not been explained. The AAA observed that "it is unclear how the incorporation of Safe System principles might be demonstrated or evaluated".23 Further the AAA submitted that the organisation holds doubts that:

… a mere requirement for jurisdictions to consider the 'Safe System' in project selection criteria will deliver genuine change in the prioritisation of road safety in infrastructure funding. Safety benefits must be embedded and prioritised in infrastructure selection criteria and must be able to be

21 Streets Alive Yarra, Submission 12, p. 4.

22 Streets Alive Yarra, Submission 12, p. 6.

23 Australian Automobile Association (AAA), Submission 27, pp 3-4.

24

measured by agreed standards. Further, selection criteria should include opportunity cost and report on this transparently.24

Committee view 2.22 The committee is assured by the clear support expressed by a range of stakeholders, across a number of jurisdictions, for the adoption of Safe System principles. The overwhelming support for a Safe System approach becoming a

legitimate part of 'business as usual' within Commonwealth, state and territory and local governments, is also a positive sign.

2.23 As with many policy areas in Australia's federated system of government, the vertical fiscal imbalance is an issue which inhibits policy decisions being translated into action on the ground. In terms of road infrastructure, long term decisions around funding are particularly crucial for the scale of infrastructure projects that are often required in a country as geographically challenging as Australia.

2.24 As discussed elsewhere in this report, the committee welcomes Australian Government funding being contingent on adopting the safest possible safety principles in building and improving road transport infrastructure. However, the Safe System approach is about more than funding; it is about a true systemic partnership being developed between all levels of government, and is an area where the coordination role of the recently established Office of Road Safety will come to the fore.

The Office of Road Safety (ORS) 2.25 The Australian Government established the Office of Road Safety (ORS) in July 2019, with the aim of improving coordination and leadership across all levels of government. In August 2019, the Transport and Infrastructure

Council (TIC) agreed that the ORS would take the lead in the development of the NRSS for 2021-2030.25

2.26 One of the fundamental principles of the Safe System approach to road safety is a shift in focus: away from transport portfolios and individual road users, and toward increased engagement with the broader community. The change of focus will see the ORS engaging and forming connections with a wider cross-section of agencies, including the Health, Education, Home Affairs (police) and Attorney-Generals (justice) portfolios with a view to effecting change and developing a road safety culture across a wider cross-section of agencies.26

24 Australian Automobile Association (AAA), Submission 27, p. 4.

25 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications,

Submission 38, p. 2.

26 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications,

Submission 38, p. 2.

25

2.27 In addition to supporting portfolios to become key enablers of change and advocates for road safety, the ORS will play a central role in the development of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The ORS will also take responsibility for implementing the NRSS for 2021-2030, and monitoring (and reviewing) the new strategy against agreed KPIs and targets.

2.28 The need for the ORS to be adequately resourced was an area of key agreement amongst stakeholders. In addition to the Office being provided with an appropriate level of funding, it was argued that ORS staff should also have access to the resources (and opportunities) which would allow them to connect with, and learn from the world's best performing jurisdictions.27

2.29 Stakeholders also argued that the ORS must be provided with the means necessary to establish cooperative, meaningful relationships and work with representatives across all levels of government, road safety advocates, stakeholder groups and community organisations.28

2.30 The AAA did express some concern about whether—as a business unit of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development—the ORS "lacks the authority within the bureaucracy to cut through and drive important road safety innovations".29

2.31 In providing evidence to the inquiry, ORS representatives acknowledged that the NRSS Inquiry had identified a lack of leadership (at a federal level) as an issue to be addressed. It was also acknowledged that the ORS had created a focus for the Commonwealth, giving road safety a prominence it had not previously enjoyed, and provided the opportunity to better coordinate across the Commonwealth.

2.32 The ORS explained that it has been working hard to get people to understand that road safety is not necessarily a transport problem, but one that also includes the Department of Health, Indigenous agencies, Treasury and Prime Minister and Cabinet. To that end, the ORS indicated that it has put together a cross-jurisdictional working group with all states and territories and the Australian Local Government Association.

2.33 In summarising the way in which the ORS views its current and future role, Assistant Secretary, Ms Gabby O'Neill told the committee:

So, at that government level, we are working together collaboratively to make sure everybody is on board and we've got shared knowledge and shared expectation. That's certainly about the creation and development of the strategy. Wrangling all of those is quite a task in itself, but it's been extremely beneficial to get a single line of expectation and way forward.

27 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley, Committee Hansard, 20 July 2020, p. 1.

28 Transurban Limited, Submission 13, p. 3.

29 Australian Automobile Association (AAA), Submission 27, p. 2.

26

There's also the reporting, monitoring and accountability that we intend to develop as a performance measurement framework to make sure that, with the development of the strategy, there's a single point of call that is going to monitor whether people are doing what they said they would do and whether they are focused on the right things, on progress and the level of transformation we see across the system. Those are our main goals.30

The role of the ORS 2.34 The establishment of the ORS was described as a positive development by the majority of submitters. Stakeholders also supported the role the ORS will play in drafting the new NRSS (and associated Action Plans), particularly if they are

thorough, evidence-based, and built on the recommendations contained in the NRSS Inquiry Report.31

2.35 A number of stakeholders argued that the ORS is also well-placed to take on a leadership role, with groups such as Transurban arguing that:

The Office has an excellent opportunity to lead the capability development in the Safe System Approach across all sectors of government and other stakeholders particularly industry and the community sector that derives approvals for infrastructure, delivers on legislation and obtains funding from government grants.32

2.36 In addition to expressing support for the ORS's establishment, stakeholders provided their views regarding the future role of the ORS. While some stakeholder groups described their vision of the ORS's role in a more traditional way, others expressed support for a move away from the view of road safety as something 'transport' or 'road-user' related, toward a vision of road safety as something that is integrated across all levels of government, industry and the wider community.

2.37 The NSW Government, for example, noted that during the consultation phase of the NRSS Inquiry, it had strongly advocated for the Commonwealth to take on the primary leadership role in relation to road safety. It submitted that the Australian Government is "uniquely placed to lead a response to this issue, working with state and territory governments to coordinate a cohesive national response that will lead to zero road trauma in Australia". Further, it was argued that the Commonwealth's leadership role should be reflected in the structure and functions of the ORS, and that broadly, the two key roles of the Office should be:

 ensuring that all types of vehicles entering Australia maximise safety; and

30 Ms Gabby O'Neill, Office of Road Safety, Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional

Development and Communication, Committee Hansard, 20 August 2020, p. 24.

31 See, for example, Transurban Limited, Submission 13; The George Institute for Global Health,

Australia, Submission 40; and Insurance Australia Group (IAG), Submission 34.

32 Transurban Limited, Submission 13, p. 3.

27

 ensuring adequate funding support for safety features on the road network (for both new projects and the retrofitting of features to the network).33

2.38 In addition, the NSW Government argued that the ORS should also take responsibility for:

 the development and implementation of policy;  the provision of reports to the TIC (regarding progress made against key outcomes);  management of infrastructure programs;  working across all levels of government and departments to ensure

appropriate allocation of funding;  implementation of legislative and regulatory changes; and  monitoring the latest international research. 34

2.39 The AAA told the committee that its Reviving Road Safety document is intended to provide a set of priorities for the Government—and the newly established ORS. The document outlines the four key areas the AAA (and its stakeholder organisations) view as the top priorities for the Commonwealth. The 'immediate next steps' are listed as:

 ensuring the new ORS has genuine authority to oversee the development and progress of the next NRSS;  developing a national road safety data hub within the ORS, which would coordinate the collection and analysis of safety data to help develop future

policy and investments;  linking infrastructure funding to road safety outcomes, and using incentive payments to ensure road funding proposals are tied to safety standards; and  encouraging the uptake of safer vehicles and working toward targets to

lower the average age of Australia's vehicle fleet.35

2.40 In addition to taking on a leadership role, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) submitted that the ORS should operate as the primary policy advisor to the federal ministers for road safety on matters related to the delivery of safe roads, vehicles, speeds, and people. It was also argued that the ORS should:

 draw together interdisciplinary expertise and experience to learn, share and channel effort toward proven approaches to reducing national road trauma;  work collaboratively with counterpart agencies across the states and territories, as well as expert agencies such as the National Transport

Commission (NTC) and Austroads; and  work toward national consistency in road safety.36

33 NSW Government, Submission 50, p. 25.

34 NSW Government, Submission 50, p. 5.

35 Australian Automobile Association (AAA), Submission 27, p. 5.

28

2.41 In line with a move toward an increased level of engagement with the wider community, the George Institute for Global Health (George Institute)37 made a number of suggestions regarding the role the ORS should be undertaking. These included advocacy for, and coordination of, multi-sectorial action, coordination and oversight of state level delivery of the Safe System and ensuring access to safe vehicle technologies. It also raised the possibility of the ORS working with bodies such as the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) to advocate for research into road safety and road injury.38

2.42 The Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia (RACWA) noted the recommendation made in the NRSS Inquiry Report that "a national data observatory be created and resourced to address the nation's long standing and embarrassing data issues in road safety".39 It was argued that this is a role that could be performed by the ORS, which should place an emphasis on transparency and data sharing—beyond government. RACWA recommended that the ORS:

 deals with long standing and pervasive data collection and reporting problems, including requiring state and territory government agencies to adopt more robust approaches to track and measure reduction in road trauma statistics, consistent with a national framework (comprising agreed metrics, reporting formats and data sharing arrangements); and

 beyond 'serious injuries', considers the future benefit of reporting on all crashes, whether or not they result in injury, to create a more complete picture of road safety risks to inform decision-making.40

Committee view 2.43 The committee notes that there is clear support for the ORS. The committee agrees with the views of a number of stakeholder groups which argued that by increasing engagement with the wider community and consulting with a

wider cross-section of agencies (including health, police and justice), the ORS will be able to provide more holistic advice to the Australian Government.

2.44 The committee supports the role the ORS will play in developing the new NRSS and the associated action plans, and is of the view that the ORS is in a

36 Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), Submission 29, [p. 7].

37 In providing its submission to the Inquiry, the George Institute for Global Health, Australia, noted

that it had partnered with the Transurban Road Safety Centre at Neuroscience Research Australia and the School of Public Health and Community Health at the University of New South Wales.

38 The George Institute for Global Health, Australia, Submission 40, [p. 8].

39 Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia (RACWA), Submission 31, p. 11.

40 Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia (RACWA), Submission 31, p. 11.

29

unique position to drive concerted action to improve national consistency in road safety.

Funding 2.45 The NRSS Inquiry found that "recent increases in deaths and serious injuries on Australia's roads demonstrate that the scale of resources currently allocated to reduce harm is far from adequate". Based on this finding, the Inquiry Report

recommended that, from 1 July 2019, the Australian Government commit $3 billion a year to a road safety fund. It also recommended legislation be enacted to guarantee Commonwealth investment in road safety would be at least 10 per cent of the annual cost of road crashes to Australia (which the $3 billion currently represents).41

2.46 The NRSS Inquiry also recommended that:

 a minimum of 5 per cent of funds be allocated for a road safety innovation initiative that could deliver results in Australia and provide export potential globally (this could include new insurance or mobility solutions, speed management, infrastructure treatments and delivery mechanisms, enforcement techniques or trauma care); and

 a minimum of 5 per cent of funds be allocated for a road safety enablers initiative (which would provide appropriate long-term resourcing to key agencies and non-government organisations with a demonstrated role in accelerating road safety improvements).42

2.47 Noting that the road network is largely controlled by local governments, the TMR stressed the need for all governments to work together - particularly with local government - to address road safety issues in remote and regional Australia.43

2.48 To that end, TMR advocated for an increase in Commonwealth funding for the maintenance and safe operation of both the local government controlled road network and the National Land Transport Network (NLTN). It was submitted that while the Queensland Government has continued to steadily increase its commitment toward funding the maintenance and safe operation of the state-controlled road network, the Commonwealth's contribution has been less than what is required - particularly for the NLTN and local government roads.44

41 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety

Strategy 2011-2020, Final Report, September 2018, p. 38.

42 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety

Strategy 2011-2020, Final Report, September 2018, p. 38.

43 Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Submission 47, p. 4.

44 Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Submission 47, p. 6.

30

2.49 The committee was advised that Queensland's transport system is both large and complex, and the state has faced significant challenges - including natural disasters and a growing freight task. For these reasons, it was submitted that:

There is continuing significant pressure on the department's budget to meet the challenges of maintaining the safe operation of the existing ageing road asset, while at the same time, expanding transport infrastructure and meeting increasing traffic demands on the state's extensive road network.45

2.50 The issue of funding was also raised by the NSW Government, which argued that, "to show national leadership" the Commonwealth should ensure that funding for new roads (and major road improvements) "is contingent on delivery of specific Safe System infrastructure treatments such as median and roadside safety barriers".46 Noting that in August 2019, the TIC agreed to this outcome, the NSW Government argued that embedding Safe System principles into all new projects is a cost effective approach to achieving road safety benefits, particularly given a considerably larger investment would be required to retrofit safety improvements.47

Funding conditions 2.51 A number of stakeholder groups called for conditions to be placed around the provision of Commonwealth funding.48

2.52 The Australasian College of Road Safety (ACRS), for example, has for some time argued that the Australian Government should make the publication of safety star ratings on the National Road Network a condition for any Commonwealth investment in the network. The ACRS repeated this recommendation in its submission to the inquiry.49

2.53 The AAA pointed to a recent Governance Review which found that "the Australian Government has not translated key performance indicators and measures into the action required".50 It was also argued that, whilst the next NRSS must maintain ambitious trauma reduction targets, "the inclusion of

45 Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Submission 47, p. 6.

46 NSW Government, Submission 50, p. 4.

47 NSW Government, Submission 50, p. 4.

48 See, for example Mr David McTiernan, Australian Road Research Board, Committee Hansard, 20

July 2020, p. 27; Australasian Trauma Society (ATS), Submission 10 and Royal Automobile Club (RAC), Submission 31.

49 Australasian College of Road Safety (ACRS), Submission 42, p. 8.

50 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development, Review of National Road

Safety Governance Arrangements, June 2019, cited in Australian Automobile Association (AAA), Submission 27, p. 5.

31

compliance mechanisms and consequences for failure to monitor or report on agreed targets" is more important.51

2.54 The AAA expressed the view that the Commonwealth has been largely unable, or unwilling, to hold state and territory governments accountable for the NRSS targets to which each jurisdiction has agreed. Noting that the NRSS currently lacks a compliance mechanism, the AAA submitted that:

As the major funder of transport infrastructure, the Commonwealth Government has the capacity to influence the compliance of state and territory governments to deliver on the actions outlined in our NRSS and associated action plans.52

2.55 The AAA also argued that this is a financial lever that must be utilised, and it must become a central part of Commonwealth road safety leadership into the future.53

Research funding 2.56 Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) raised concerns about the number of state and federal road safety programs which are rolled out without there being good evidence to determine whether or not they are effective, or

whether they have been implemented effectively. Finding effective solutions to road safety problems, it was argued, will require a variety of additional research: basic research which generates new ideas for reducing road trauma, through to research which determines the most effective way to implement new strategies.

2.57 NeuRA submitted that where once Australia was a leader in the area of road safety research, the past decade had seen funding eroded to such an extent that researchers with specific expertise had been forced to leave the sector. Further, NeuRA argued that:

If road safety research received as much funding per fatality as breast cancer research does, we would be able to achieve much better outcomes and ensure that programs that are actually effective in reducing road trauma could be rolled out nationally. This year, for example, road safety research received less than one-tenth of the funding that breast cancer has from the NHMRC, even though there are 40 per cent as many deaths in road safety as there are in breast cancer nationally.54

Committee view

51 Australian Automobile Association (AAA), Submission 27, p. 5.

52 Australian Automobile Association, (AAA), Submission 27, p. 2.

53 Australian Automobile Association, (AAA), Submission 27, p. 2.

54 Professor Lynne Bilston, Neuroscience Research Australia, Committee Hansard, 20 July 2020,

pp 14-15.

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2.58 Funding for road safety was a key issue for stakeholders. The NRSS Inquiry Report argued that the current level of deaths and serious injuries occurring on Australia's roads indicates that the scale of resources (currently allocated for harm reduction) is inadequate. The review recommended that, from 1 July 2019, the Commonwealth commit $3 billion per annum to a road safety fund. The introduction of legislation which would guarantee a level of investment in road safety (that is at least 10 per cent of the annual cost of road crashes to Australia) was also recommended.

2.59 The Australian Government agreed to this recommendation in principle, and commits to invest an average of $3 billion per year to road infrastructure that will have a safety benefit. The committee welcomes this response, as well as the commitment that the Commonwealth will continue to work with other jurisdictions to 'identify priorities for investment and ensure that investment has regard to the safe system principles in accordance with the recently signed National Partnership Agreement' 55

Recommendation 1

2.60 The committee supports the findings of the NRSS Inquiry Report which recommended that the Australian government commit more funding to road safety.

Data 2.61 As indicated in the committee's Interim Report, data collection, harmonisation, monitoring and reporting will be critically important for the next NRSS. Significantly, evidence provided throughout the inquiry has revealed that

among stakeholders, there is a "strong appetite for governance and oversight" in this area.56

2.62 A key component of the next NRSS will be the collection of the data necessary to make informed decisions, and to develop meaningful and achievable targets and performance indicators. Given that the definition and collection of serious injury data and a transition plan for harmonisation across jurisdictions have yet to be finalised, these matters will require close attention.

2.63 Throughout the committee's inquiry, data and its collection was described as a central issue by stakeholder groups.57 The NSW Government expressed the

55 Office of Road Safety, Transport and Infrastructure Council Meeting Outcomes, p. 3. Available at:

https://www.officeofroadsafety.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/office-of-road-safety-update-6.pdf, accessed 29 October 2020.

56 Joint Select Committee on Road Safety, Improving Road Safety in Australia: Interim Report, July 2020,

p. 5.

57 See, for example, Australian Automobile Association (AAA), Submission 27; Western Australian

Local Government Association (WALGA), Submission 9; Australasian Trauma Society (ATA),

33

view that "to reduce the burden of road trauma, there is a need to fully understand the nature of the problem".58 This was a view shared by a number of other stakeholders who submitted that a reduction in road trauma will only be achieved by having access to accurate, high-quality, timely data: including data in relation to road deaths, injuries sustained in motor vehicle crashes, as well as specific data regarding the environmental, human, vehicle and infrastructure factors that lead to road crashes.

Data Collection 2.64 The Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) acknowledged that there has been "enormous improvement in the availability of crash data over the past few years". The IPWEA did, however, identify several areas

which require further improvement:

 the lack of data regarding the severity of crashes which limits state and road authorities ability to calculate the costs of crashes and prioritise treatments;  locations of crashes are not always pinpointed because the data is not always entered by the police at the scene of the crash - making it difficult to

accurately determine the causes of crashes later on; and  the under reporting of crashes - particularly off-road crashes - because people do not want the police involved in what they consider minor

incidents (or because they want to avoid possible prosecution).59

2.65 It was argued that these issues continue to inhibit the ability of state and local road authorities and policy makers, to make informed decisions and develop appropriate strategies to address road safety. Noting that the problems associated with data collection are not the fault of the police, rather a reflection on what data is collected and the way it is gathered, IPWEA submitted that:

…improving the collection and reporting of detailed crash data on a consistent basis will foster a better understanding of the extent of crash related injuries. This would assist state and local road authorities and communities to determine exactly where the burden of injury is occurring and how much it is costing. It would also greatly assist all road authorities to prioritise road upgrades and develop other strategies and programs - to prevent or lessen the effects of all vehicle crashes.60

2.66 The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) also raised issues in relation to event data recording. Noting that collisions are analysed by experts to determine causation - including driver behaviour, speed, vehicle safety and road design - the RACS pointed to the fact that although Event Data Recorders

Submission 10; Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17 and Insurance Australia Group (IAG), Submission 34.

58 NSW Government, Submission 50, p. 21.

59 Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA), Submission 53, p. 3.

60 Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA), Submission 53, p. 4.

34

(EDRs) have the capability to record pre-crash data (including speed, braking and acceleration) Australia currently has no legislation mandating vehicles be fitted with EDR, or that stored data be accessible. The RACS argued that "such legislation would enhance collision causation analysis, increasing road safety and reducing road trauma".61

2.67 Dr Louise Rawlings, Acting Head of the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE)62 told the committee that while a significant amount of data is already collected at the national level, accessing the data actually needed to make informed decisions has been a problem for some time. There have been improvements, however, in relation to the collection of data across the evidence base more generally, and the "dashboard presence around the enforcement series in terms of drug and alcohol". 63

2.68 Dr Rawlings pointed to the 30 per cent target in relation to 'serious injuries' which was set as part of the NRSS 2011-2020. It was noted that while some progress has been made in the collection of data relating to 'hospitalised injuries', it was also acknowledged that there is still no agreed national source of data against which to measure 'serious injuries'.64

2.69 In evidence, Dr Rawlings summarised the progress made to date in relation to data collection, and detailed what is yet to be done:

What we need to do as a first step - and we're very, very focused on it - is this linkage piece around linking up crash data with hospitalisation data. What I can say in terms of progress is that we've currently got seven out of eight jurisdictions, and we do expect to have that national baseline data series throughout the course of this financial year. So progress is being made. But obviously they're not quick data wins that we can have. We need to work through those permission issues with jurisdictions, and they're not quick things to fix. It's around sharing the hospitals' data, with linking up with the police records, and then, if we want to have a national data set, allowing that data to leave that jurisdiction for that national

61 Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS), Submission 51, p. 4.

62 The Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE) undertakes data work on

behalf of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communication.

63 Dr Louise Rawlings, Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE),

Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communication, Committee Hansard, 20 August 2020, p. 23.

64 Dr Louise Rawlings, Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE),

Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communication, Committee Hansard, 20 August 2020, p. 25.

35

analysis. So I would say that we are making good progress, but it is incremental. We are heading in a concrete way this financial year.65

Data linkage, harmonisation and sharing 2.70 The George Institute also stressed the need for consistent data collection across all states and territories, but at the same time urged better use of available data sources. It was noted, for example, that while the majority of states and

territories have forensic data which is collected by police crash investigation units, it is not well linked to other data sources such as hospital data or infringement data. It was suggested that odometer readings at vehicle registration could also provide better exposure data.66

2.71 TMR argued that consideration should be given - at a national level - to investigating "what data is available to build on traditional road crash and health datasets". TMR also suggested investigating the role of big data - data held by organisations such as telecommunications companies - to understand whether and how other datasets can support increased knowledge to inform policy, enforcement investigations and/or alternative uses such as supporting insurance.67

2.72 In addition to expressing full support for the harmonisation of injury data collection, iRAP endorsed the efforts made by organisations such as Austroads and the RACS to facilitate this work. The collection and use of injury data was identified as a valuable way to communicate with the Australian population about the human impact of road trauma, particularly given that:68

The accountability, scale and urgency of our response - from politicians to business, from road agencies to road users - requires a much better understanding that deaths are just the tip of the iceberg.69

2.73 The committee was advised that by linking data from NSW Health, the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA), Insurance and Care NSW (icare NSW), NSW Ambulance and the NSW Police Force, the NSW Government has established the first regular data linkage process for the routine collection of road crash 'serious injury' information in Australia. Having access to this data has assisted the NSW Government to tailor road safety measures under its Road Safety Plan 2021 (RSP 2021) to address both fatality and serious injury trends.

65 Dr Louise Rawlings, Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE),

Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communication, Committee Hansard, 20 August 2020, pp 25-26.

66 The George Institute for Global Health, Australia, Submission 40, [p. 6].

67 Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Submission 47, p. 5.

68 International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP), Submission 52, [p. 22].

69 International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP), Submission 52, [p. 22].

36

2.74 The RACS also stressed the importance of data linkage, and argued that data linkage between key agencies - including ambulance services, hospitals and emergency departments, police and insurance companies - is essential. The RACS recommended enhanced data collection and improved reporting on the location of serious crashes linked to the road and other conditions (such as speed zone, road quality, location, drug and alcohol use and weather). It was argued that this additional information would allow for a more detailed examination of 'association' and lead to improved response measures. The RACS also submitted that, in terms of data linkage:

 timely multiple-agency serious injury data capture, collation, release and sharing is needed within integrated agencies;  there is currently a significant time lag between incidents occurring and relevant data becoming available for analysis (this prohibits monitoring of

outcomes of road safety efforts and hinders the assessment of the effectiveness of implemented programs and developing appropriate policies);  no Australian trauma centre registry currently collects data on distractions associated with road-related hospital admissions; and  intelligent transport systems (ITS) technology can record mobile phone use while driving and will assist future data collection.70

Definitions 2.75 In August 2016, BITRE reported that Australia's performance in addressing serious injuries from road crashes was difficult to measure because of the lack of a reliable, nationally consistent, source of non-fatal crash data. BITRE

identified police-sourced crash data as the primary source of information on injury outcomes at the state and territory level. It was also noted that while all Australian states and territories record a road death (when a person dies within 30 days) different injury definitions apply for non-fatal injuries.71

2.76 It was acknowledged during the inquiry, that some jurisdictions are taking steps to improve their systems for collecting non-fatal injury data, and there have been improvements made through linking of hospital and crash databases. There is still a need, however, for agreement across all jurisdictions on a standardised definition of a 'severe injury' for NRSS reporting purposes (that is based on medical diagnosis and includes a threshold for severity).72

70 Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS), Submission 51, p. 4.

71 Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE), Developing national road

safety indicators for injury, Information Sheet 76, August 2016, p. 4.

72 Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE), Developing national road

safety indicators for injury, Information Sheet 76, August 2016, p. 4.

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2.77 The NSW Government noted that the need for a suitable national data series on 'serious injuries' is something that has been repeatedly acknowledged by all jurisdictions and stakeholders. It also noted that the current NRSS clearly identified a need for greater focus on 'serious injury' and the setting of a national, 'serious injury' target, and argued that:

Work should continue at a national level to identify a national serious injury dataset coupled with enabling jurisdictions to undertake their own data linkage projects. Development of a simplistic national linkage system for serious injury data in isolation may not account for nuances in data collection processes and systems among different jurisdictions, and will duplicate efforts for jurisdictions such as NSW that have already invested heavily in better understanding the nature of their serious road injuries.73

2.78 In evidence, the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) addressed the issue of data collection from the perspective of engineering. It was argued that given engineers are typically concerned with clearly identifying the problem they are attempting to solve - which in this case is a reduction in fatal and serious injury crashes - a clear definition of 'serious injury' is vital. It was noted that while 'fatality' is clearly defined, 'serious injury' is not. The ARRB explained that:

We need to define the injury level that we are willing to first start out with, and say, 'Are we going to try to mitigate all injuries, from a broken toe to a serious brain injury, or are we going to focus more on the types of injuries that are the most costly in terms of harm, in terms of lifelong trauma?' It is very important - very important - to separate out these injury levels.74

2.79 ARRB representatives argued that there is capacity within current systems to implement the required level of definition and improve the accuracy of data collected, and in terms of required injury data:

We would want to know what percentage of these are serious head injuries. What percentage of these are serious spinal injuries? And we can then, if we've got this holistic model, relate that back to specific vehicle types or specific vintages of vehicles or specific geographic locations. Having that picture about how, for some reason, we've got a lot of serious brain injuries happening with this particular vehicle in this particular area, means it then becomes a well-defined problem that we can attack as engineers, as a system, rather than doing what we've been doing.75

Progress in relation to a definition of 'serious injury' 2.80 As the peak body for Australasian road transport and traffic agencies, Austroads submitted that Australian road safety agencies have, for some time, used numbers and rates of road deaths as the primary basis for assessing

73 NSW Government, Submission 50, pp 21-22.

74 Mrs Tia Gaffney, Australian Road Research Board, Committee Hansard, 20 July 2020, p. 30.

75 Mrs Tia Gaffney, Australian Road Research Board, Committee Hansard, 20 July 2020, p. 30.

38

performance. Austroads also observed that as the proportion of fatalities has stabilised, there has been a significant increase in the number of vehicle crashes that result in serious injury. It was acknowledged that "mortality alone no longer constitutes sufficient evidence and indicators based on non-fatal road injuries are also required". At the same time, however, providing a nationally consistent assessment of non-fatal crashes is difficult - particularly because there is currently no universal definition of what constitutes a 'serious injury'.76

2.81 Austroads advised that although most jurisdictions use some measure related to hospital admissions, the practice of determining a serious injury and level of verification of serious injury varies between jurisdictions. It was also noted that definitions, practices and verification change over time within jurisdictions and, unlike fatalities, not all road crash serious injuries will be reported, and recorded in police databases.77

2.82 In evidence, Austroads advised that in 2017, researchers had initiated a key project, and had undertaken the first round of modelling which aggregated national data for fatalities and gave an estimation of serious injuries. Austroads noted the project had influenced its "response in the 2018-2020 action plan in terms of providing feedback to the federal government and how that could be structured".78

2.83 Austroads indicated that, more recently, it has been involved in matching hospital records with road safety records for serious injuries. The committee was advised that:

We have a good dataset for fatalities across the country because of what the road jurisdictions collect. It’s mandatory to collect fatality information and they collect that with the police agencies. But for serious injury data there's a problem in that if we only go on road safety records it underestimates the true view of serious injuries because there's probably in the order of about 25 per cent that go unrecorded on the road network and are unlocated. The only way we get that scale of information is matching it with hospital records. So, we have been undertaking a project, along with the federal government's BITRE organisation, to collect and match that serious injury data.79

2.84 Austroads advised that legislative requirements had proved a challenge to those undertaking the project. Specifically, the legislative constraints within the hospital system - particularly in terms of accessing hospital data - had slowed the project down. It was anticipated, however, that by November 2020,

76 Austroads, Submission 39, pp 6-7.

77 Austroads, Submission 39, p. 7.

78 Mr David Bobbermen, Austroads, Committee Hansard, 20 July 2020, p. 32.

79 Mr David Bobbermen, Austroads, Committee Hansard, 20 July 2020, pp 32-33.

39

there would be "a national dataset for serious injury matched with jurisdictional hospital records".80

2.85 The committee sought additional information from Austroads representatives regarding the specific data that would be provided in the national dataset, and the standardisation of 'serious injury':

Mr Thistlethwaite: …Can you tell us…. what actual data will be provided in that national dataset?

Mr Bobbermen: All state records, I understand, except Western Australia hospital records. There will be some estimation in that, and that's because of legislative requirements in providing records outside the state. There are some changes going on in Western Australia at the moment to allow that, but for this first version of data record we will have fatality records, which we collect very well in terms of location and the crash; serious injury records that have been collected by police in terms of location; and then there will be an extra set of records which won't necessarily have location, which are those crashes which haven't been able to be matched with location based data through the police system, which will be hospital records. It's because that's so large. A component of that is also vulnerable road users - cyclists and pedestrians.

Mr Thistlethwaite: Will that definition of serious injury become a standard definition, and will all of the states and territories comply with that into the future?

Mr Bobbermen: At the moment, different states may have slight differences in classifying a serious injury in the hospital system - outside the road safety agency system. Through this project, we'll be influencing and getting a standard definition for the way that should be recorded in the future. 81

2.86 The committee was advised that, as a member of Austroads, the ORS will be provided with the dataset. In the longer term, aggregate data will also be made available to all jurisdictions (as well as the public). It was noted, however, that given this is the first time this information will be made available, decisions have yet to be made about how the information will be presented, and there are likely to be some conditions placed on its use.82

Committee view 2.87 The committee notes that having the appropriate data on which to make informed decisions has been a problem for some time. The committee is of the view, therefore, that appropriate data - its collection, harmonisation,

evaluation and reporting - will be a vital component of the next NRSS. There have been considerable advances in the availability and collection of data over

80 Mr David Bobbermen, Austroads, Committee Hansard, 20 July 2020, p. 33.

81 Mr David Bobbermen, Austroads, Committee Hansard, 20 July 2020, p. 33.

82 Mr David Bobbermen, Austroads, Committee Hansard, 20 July 2020, p. 33.

40

recent years, and the committee acknowledges the work that has been undertaken and the effort that has been required to obtain this level of improvement. The committee notes, however, that there are several areas which require further improvement.

2.88 The committee encourages all jurisdictions to work toward achieving consistent data collection across all states and territories. The committee also acknowledges the need for better use to be made of available data sources, improved linkage between data sources, and a greater focus on the collection of 'serious injury' data.

2.89 The committee welcomes the efforts currently being made to provide a nationally consistent assessment of non-fatal crashes, and is encouraged by the work that is being done to reach a common definition of 'serious injury'. However, serious injury reporting is a matter characterised in the NRSS Final Report as an 'embarrassment for the nation for several decades',83 and as such needs to be treated with the utmost priority by the Office of Road Safety.

Recommendation 2

2.90 The committee recommends the Australian Government work with the states and territories to develop a plan and timeline for the harmonisation of data, including definitions, relating to casualty crashes, road safety ratings, and speeding across the network. Such data should be published regularly.

State and territory partnership 2.91 It was argued that the ORS would have a role to play in 'harmonising' road safety across the country; which would involve closing gaps in practice among jurisdictions to lift overall standards. In addition, it would be responsible for

consultation on issues where national or multi-national stakeholders are involved (and the Commonwealth is best placed to lead consultation).84

2.92 In terms of a resourcing strategy for these roles, TMR suggested that there are opportunities for the Commonwealth to partner with a state or territory government when approaching specific issues. It was argued that this would have the benefit of bringing together both national and jurisdictional perspectives in policy development and implementation. As a strategy, it could also be beneficial in the case of newly emerging issues. Road safety benefits could be realised by identifying issues quickly, and implementing good practice across jurisdictions sooner.85

83 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety

Strategy 2011-2020, Final Report, September 2018 and Dr John Crozier and Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley, Committee Hansard, 20 July 2020, p. 26.

84 Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Submission 47, p. 7.

85 Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Submission 47, p. 8.

41

Programs and their effectiveness 2.93 The NRSS Inquiry noted that there are a range of established programs and tools being used across the country to support Government road safety policy and implementation. Some programs - such as the Black Spot Program - have

been implemented across a number of jurisdictions. There are, however, some jurisdictions which face road safety challenges unique to their specific area, and as a result, a number of jurisdictions have tailored their approach to the specific problems they face.

Black Spot Program 2.94 The committee was advised by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (Department of Infrastructure) that the Commonwealth has allocated additional funding (through the 2019-20

Local and State Government Road Safety Package) for a number of road safety initiatives - including the Black Spot Program.

2.95 The Department of Infrastructure described the Black Spot Program as a "highly successful road safety initiative, which targets locations where crashes are occurring", and noted that since 2013-14, the Black Spot Program has provided more than $660 million for around 2 371 road safety projects. The Department of Infrastructure also advised that by funding measures such as installing traffic signals and roundabouts at dangerous locations, research has found fatal and casualty crashes have been reduced by up to 30 per cent.86

Funding 2.96 The ACRS noted that, as part of the Federal Government's 2019 Budget, an additional $550 million had been allocated for the Black Spot Program. The ACRS indicated that it is largely supportive of cost effective investment in

parts of the network, and acknowledged that this program does allow for targeting of known high-risk locations. It was argued, however, that funding should be considered within a much wider set of performance management accountabilities for state and territory roads authorities. Noting that the United Nations has established safety star ratings as the method for setting infrastructure safety performance targets, the ACRS asserted that these should be included at a state-wide level in any requirements for Commonwealth funding into the road traffic system. The College has recommended that no Commonwealth funding for the national road network be allocated without publication of infrastructure safety star ratings by states and territories.87

86 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, Submission

38, p. 4.

87 Australasian College of Road Safety (ACRS), Submission 42, p. 12.

42

2.97 The ARRB suggested the Black Spot Program model as one that could be restructured to better align with Safe System delivery. Whilst acknowledging the value in funding the Black Spot Program, it was argued that allocating funding based on past fatal serious injury crashes "limits the potential to invest in effective and network-wide road safety improvement".88

2.98 Mr David McTiernan told the committee that it is important to deal with locations where people have been killed or seriously injured, however it could be more effective:

…if we change that mix and apply a criteria which is more proactive and using something such as AusRAP, such as ANRAM, predictive. We have enough research and experience now purely looking at infrastructure to know the types of elements of a road where we can predict a crash will happen. We can apply that to a black spot style program and start to get ahead of the curve …89

2.99 The committee was advised that while NSW currently receives approximately 19 per cent of national Black Spot Program funding, the state accounts for approximately 30 per cent of the national road toll. The NSW Government pointed to existing tools such as the Australian National Risk Assessment Model (ANRAM) and the Australian Road Assessment Program (AusRAP) which allow Australian road agencies to implement nationally-consistent, risk-based road assessments, and identify road sections with the highest risk of future fatal and serious injury crashes.90

2.100 The NSW Government argued that funding models should be reviewed regularly, to ensure a more representative financial distribution, based on national road trauma. Specifically, it argued for a review of the national Black Spot Program criteria and funding, to "better enable risk reduction addressing known hazards". It was suggested that this would also result in an increased focus on 'proactive risk reduction' as opposed to 'reactive treatment' of crash history only.91

2.101 The Department of Transport (Victoria) noted that under the current Black Spot Program, eligible 'black spot locations' must include information on whether there have been a minimum number of casualty crashes on a specific road or at a particular site.92 It was noted that this approach is based on a

88 Mr David McTiernan, Australian Road Research Board, Committee Hansard, 20 July 2020, p. 27.

89 Mr David McTiernan, Australian Road Research Board, Committee Hansard, 20 July 2020, p. 29.

90 NSW Government, Submission 50, pp 19-20.

91 NSW Government, Submission 50, pp 19-20.

92 The current Black Spot Program sets the criteria of three casualty crashes over a 5-year period for

intersections, mid-blocks or sections of road shorter than three kilometres (black spots). For lengths of road three kilometres or longer (black lengths), the criteria is 0.2 casualty crashes per kilometre per annum over a five year period or the road length must be among the top ten per cent of sites which have a demonstrably higher crash rate than other roads in a region. Crash history

43

bottom-up risk assessment at locations with an established historic crash problem. It was argued that this could be considered a reactive approach to road safety risk.93

2.102 It was noted that Victoria started to move away from a Black Spot approach in 2007, to a more proactive 'Grey Spot Program', with the aim of improving road safety at potentially hazardous locations (that do not meet traditional crash-based black spot criteria).

2.103 Similarly, the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA) noted that as an organisation it had given considerable thought to the ways in which the criteria and methodology could be adjusted, to enable "mass action treatments to be considered within a Black Spot Program".94

Committee view 2.104 The committee welcomes all the contributions around the Black Spot Program. It has been a very visible, and reportedly effective program, that has received widespread support.

2.105 The committee is supportive of the evolution of the program, and would encourage the Australian Government to support states and territories to explore how the program can further develop to remain as effective as possible. This includes increase funding to rural and regional areas.

Recommendation 3

2.106 The committee recommends that the Australian Government review its Black Spot Program funding conditions and site eligibility, with a view to making it more effective in proactively detecting and treating deficiencies in road infrastructure.

Recommendation 4

2.107 The committee recommends that the Australian Government increase funding to the Black Spot Program and increase the percentage allocated to regional and remote areas.

Western Australian Government

RoadWise Program

includes level of severity as part of the nomination process to demonstrate a minimum benefit to cost ratio of at least 2:1 to be eligible and the BCR's are used to prioritise the nominated projects.

93 Department of Transport - Victoria, Submission 48, p. 7.

94 Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA), Submission 9, p. 7, and Mr Ian

Duncan, Western Australian Local Government Association, Committee Hansard, 20 August 2020, p. 7.

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2.108 Since 1994, WALGA has delivered the Local Government and Community Road Safety Program, known as RoadWise across that state. The aim of the program is to engage local governments and communities in actions that support and contribute to the implementation of 'Towards Zero' (Western Australia's Road Safety Strategy 2008-2020). To achieve its aim, the program supports local governments, community groups, local businesses and individuals to become involved in the community road safety network across Western Australia.

2.109 A team of regional and metropolitan based RoadWise staff assist members of the state-wide Community Road Safety Network by:

 promoting participation and community ownership;  facilitating opportunities for local road safety leadership;  supporting local road safety committees;  providing access to resources and training; and  sharing information.95

2.110 The RoadWise program is supported by local governments and funded by the Western Australian Government through the Road Trauma Trust Account (speed and red light camera fines) and the State Road Funds to Local Government Agreement (sourced from Western Australian vehicle licensing fees).

2.111 The RoadWise model, employs a team of officers (based both in Perth-metropolitan and regional areas) who aim to build the capacity of local governments and local communities; by improving individual skills, strengthening community action and empowering organisations to take responsibility for road safety. The program aims to deliver road safety initiatives which are aligned with Western Australia's Road Safety Strategy 2008-2020 - 'Towards Zero'.96

Run-off Road Crash Program 2.112 Single vehicle, loss-of-control, run-off road crashes are a particular problem in regional and remote Western Australia. Between 2008 and 2012, they accounted for almost 60 per cent of all road deaths and serious injuries. In an

effort to address the problem, approximately 984 kilometres of rural Western Australian roads were treated with run-off treatments under the rural Run-Off Road Crash Program.97 An evaluation into the effectiveness and cost-

95 Western Australian Local Government Association website, https://walga.asn.au/Policy-Advice-and-Advocacy/Infrastructure/RoadWise, (accessed 4 September 2020).

96 Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA), Submission 9, p. 2.

97 The Run-Off Road Crash Program was funded by the Road Trauma Trust Account in the 2012-13,

2013-14 and 2014-15 Budgets.

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effectiveness of the program (including an examination of 'shoulder-widening and/or sealing' and 'audible edgelines' treatments) was then undertaken.98

2.113 In evidence, WALGA concurred that a major percentage of the deaths and serious injuries that occur on rural and regional Western Australian roads are as a result of run-off road crashes. WALGA submitted that it is very difficult, however, to predict exactly which section or segment of road will be the location where a run-off road crash occurs. Executive Manager, Mr Ian Duncan, told the committee that:

I think there's quite strong evidence now emerging that mass action treatments like sealing the shoulders and installing audible edge lines and wide audible centrelines across lengths of road are really productive and positive ways of addressing that particular crash type. Those types of treatments are probably not going to be effective if we apply them to a kilometre here and a kilometre there in a spot type approach, so I guess that challenges how we identify - and I think we can identify - those priority segments of roads, which might be between two towns, and treat them as a whole rather than trying to implement a benefit-cost ratio criterion to a specific segment of that road.99

2.114 It was submitted that overall, 57 rural sites (that had met the inclusion criteria of the program) reported a reduction of 35.5 per cent in run-off road crashes (of all severities). These sites also reported an 18.4 per cent reduction in run-off road casualty crashes, as well as a 25.6 per cent reduction in run-off road 'Killed or Seriously Injured' (KSI) crashes. It was noted that the program also performed well in economic terms - with the net present value (NPV) and the benefit cost ratio (BCR) across all sites estimated to be $100.2 million and 2.1 respectively.100

NSW Government 2.115 The NSW Government advised that the fatality rate in metropolitan NSW is currently 2.2 fatalities per 100 000 people. In comparison, in regional NSW, the rate is currently 8.5 fatalities per 100 000 people - approximately four times

higher than metropolitan NSW. It was submitted that the greater distances, and the limited access to public transport are two key reasons the NSW Government has chosen to focus on regional road safety strategies.

2.116 It was noted that residents in NSW regional areas travel greater distances on roads with a lower standard of safety structure, (including unsealed and winding roads). They also face hazards not generally experienced in metropolitan areas (including wildlife, flooding and bushfires). It was

98 Western Australian Government, Submission 44, Attachment 1, p. 1.

99 Mr Ian Duncan, Western Australian Local Government Association, Committee Hansard, 20 August

2020, p. 7.

100 Western Australian Government, Submission 44, Attachment 1, p. 1.

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submitted that "these unique challenges, and the disproportionate representation of regional communities in road trauma statistics" has required a tailored approach to improving road safety outcomes.101

Safer Roads Program 2.117 During the 2018-19 financial year, the Safer Roads Program delivered route based projects under what was a targeted road safety infrastructure program. Under the program, a wide centreline was installed on the New England

Highway (between Uralla and Armidale). A start was also made on the installation of a median barrier on the Mitchell Highway (between Bathurst and Orange). In addition, a number of other improvements were made on regional roads, including the installation of 113 kilometres of safety barriers, 3 000 kilometres of rumble strips and 22 kilometres of motorcycle underrun (to prevent run off road and head on crashes).102

Saving Lives on Country Roads Program 2.118 From July 2018, the NSW Government proposed an investment of $640 million toward 'Saving Lives on Country Roads' infrastructure safety upgrades. It also estimated a $182 million spend on 'Liveable and Safe Urban Communities'

infrastructure safety upgrades, which aim to better protect vulnerable road users - including cyclists and pedestrians. During the 2018-19 financial year, 123 projects were completed under the Saving Lives on Country Roads Program, and 199 were under construction.

2.119 An education campaign was also launched as part of the Program in November 2017. The campaign is aimed at raising awareness of road trauma in NSW country areas, and encourages country drivers to "re-think the common excuses used to justify unsafe behaviour on the road and make safe, positive choices to reduce their risk on the road".103

2.120 The NSW Government noted the education campaign had been well-received "with regional drivers who had seen it indicating that they were personally committed to following the road rules and driving safely".104 The committee were also advised that, as part of the Road Safety Plan 2021, the NSW Government had undertaken a complete, independent review of its advertising programs "to ensure that they are supporting the sorts of behaviours and outcomes that lead to people reducing their risk on the road". Noting that the evaluations had been largely positive, Mr Bernard Carlon, Transport for NSW (NSW Government) advised that in terms of evaluation:

101 NSW Government, Submission 50, p. 15.

102 NSW Government, Submission 50, p. 15.

103 NSW Government, Submission 50, p. 15.

104 NSW Government, Submission 50, p. 16.

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Right across the board, our campaigns are continuously evaluated to ensure that they're supporting the sorts of behaviours and maintaining the level of awareness that's necessary to reduce the road toll over the longer term. Importantly, when we've seen the research internationally, I think the longer term campaigns of strategies which evolve over time have actually been very successful.105

Victoria 2.121 Victoria introduced the Safe Roads Program, which involves sites being identified and prioritised on the basis of their crash history and potential crash risk. This approach, it was argued, demonstrates better alignment with the

Safe System philosophy.106

2.122 It was submitted that Victoria's approach "has been proven to save lives, with evaluations of Victorian road safety infrastructure programs demonstrating the effectiveness of this approach".107 Further, it was argued that:

The recommended approach to identifying and prioritising problem locations should follow Austroads report (AP-R562-18) to move beyond black spot analysis and consider road characteristics and traffic volumes in addition to crash histories to predict where future crashes are likely to occur. Using crash models to create site specific estimates of crashes is central to the best practice approach of identifying problem locations. Under these criteria, problem locations can still be nominated by all levels of government, community groups and associations, industry and individuals. More rigour can then be applied to help prioritise and allocate program funding according to risk.108

Committee view 2.123 The NRSS Inquiry Report noted that there are a range of established programs and tools being used to support Commonwealth road safety policy and implementation. The committee is of the view that partnerships between the

Commonwealth and states and territories, and between jurisdictions can benefit all parties, by coordinating national and jurisdictional perspectives in relation to policy development and implementation.

2.124 The Office of Road Safety is best placed to collate and disseminate program evaluations for the benefit of all states and territories and local governments.

Local Government

105 Mr Bernard Carlon, Centres for Road Safety and Maritime Safety, Transport for NSW, Committee

Hansard, 22 July 2020, p. 3.

106 Department of Transport - Victoria, Submission 48, p. 7.

107 Department of Transport - Victoria, Submission 48, p. 7.

108 Department of Transport - Victoria, Submission 48, p. 7.

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2.125 As the owners of an extensive road network, local governments play an important role in road safety. Local governments manage approximately 82 per cent of the road network in Australia, and it has been estimated that more than 50 per cent of all casualty crashes, and 40 per cent of all road deaths, occur on local roads. This means that driving on a local road involves an increased risk of being seriously injured - around 1.5 times higher than driving on a state road.109

2.126 Local government organisations pointed to the influence local government have on the design of the road transport system, and argued that recognition of, and support for, local government is key to developing partnerships which progress improvements in road safety. WALGA's submission included the following recommendation:

Develop authentic partnership arrangements built on a common vision and goals, with appropriate resources (knowledge, funding, skills, data, etc) that enables Local Governments to participate fully and effectively in their role to reduce road trauma.110

2.127 TMR submitted that addressing road safety issues in remote and regional Australia will require all levels of government to work together - particularly with local government. It was argued that, given "the majority of the road network is controlled by local governments, unless they are part of the solution, further reductions in road trauma in remote and regional areas will remain a challenge".111

2.128 In the case of Western Australia, it is estimated that, collectively, local governments manage 88 per cent of the Western Australian road network. Given that local roads are where almost two thirds of crashes occur, local governments see themselves as being in a position to have a significant influence on road safety outcomes. As noted above, the Western Australian Government supports local governments by providing funding through the Road Trauma Trust Account and the State Road Funds to Local Government Agreement.112

2.129 The IPWEA pointed to figures Australian Bureau of Statistics' figures which indicate that in 2016-17, local government had a total income of approximately $45 billion. It was noted that this figure is "dwarfed by the $345 billion in fixed

109 Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA), Submission 9, p. 2, Mr Adrian

Beresford-Wylie, Australian Local Government Association, Committee Hansard, 20 August 2020, p. 1.

110 Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA), Submission 9, p. 2.

111 Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Submission 47, p. 4.

112 Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA), Submission 9, p. 2 and Mr Adrian

Beresford-Wylie, Australian Local Government Association, Committee Hansard, 20 August 2020, p. 1.

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assets it needs to manage and maintain", particularly given the greatest proportion of local government infrastructure, by value, is roads.113

Skills 2.130 The IPWEA noted that two thirds of Australia's local councils have a population of less than 30 000, which means that the resource capacity of most local governments is constrained. Additionally, IPWEA observed that while

local government "has the greatest burden in reducing all road crashes" it tends to receive less funding, and has limited access to people who have much needed skills in areas such as engineering and project management.114

2.131 The AAA argued that deliberations around the development of a new NRSS, provide an opportunity to better engage local government in road safety. The AAA acknowledged that local governments face barriers such as limited resources and a poor understanding of Safe System principles. Local governments are also frequently restricted by legacy infrastructure. It was argued that the Commonwealth can support local governments in their efforts to achieve improved road safety with better training, resource support and an improved approach to government funding. Local governments should also "be encouraged to look beyond their own individual agendas, towards adopting a more consistent, national vision for road safety".115

2.132 This view was shared by representatives from the ARRB which argued that there is a need to improve the skills and capabilities of the practitioners developing our road networks. National Leader, David McTiernan noted that through his involvement with local government, he is aware there are limitations to the ways in which an engineer can develop their understanding and skills in relation to road safety.116

2.133 ARRB submitted that in the past, road infrastructure designers and managers - the engineers and technicians who are responsible for the nation's road network - gained their road safety knowledge 'on the job'. It was argued that raising the level of expertise in relation to road safety would require future engineers - those who are developing new infrastructure to address improved mobility, transport efficiency and road safety performance - to study road safety as part of their undergraduate degree.117

113 Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA), Submission 53, p. 8.

114 Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA), Submission 53, pp 8-9.

115 Australian Automobile Association (AAA), Submission 27, p. 4.

116 Mr David McTiernan, Australian Road Research Board, Committee Hansard, 20 July 2020, p. 27.

117 Australian Road Research Board (ARRB), Submission 32, p. 9.

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2.134 It was noted that continuing professional development training in road safety is also frequently disjointed, and there are limited pathways which allow practitioners to build their expertise. The ARRB argued that:

…if we continue with the state system approach, it needs to be embedded at the undergraduate level, not just within engineering but with town planners and others who have a direct impact professionally on road infrastructure. It also needs to be provided at a postgraduate level either as formal courses or certainly as continuing professional development and engaging, as I said, not just the road managers but the consulting fraternity, and making the development community aware of their contribution.118

Committee view 2.135 The committee acknowledges the influence that local government jurisdictions can have on the design of the road transport system, and note that as the owners of an extensive road network, local governments can play an

important role in road safety.

2.136 The committee acknowledges the valuable work undertaken by Crozier and Woolley, and agrees with their submission that an agreed strategic response to road safety will be a vital element in the new NRSS. The committee also agrees that Commonwealth, state and territory, local government, industry, the private sector and key road safety stakeholders will need to work together to support systematic change - and become part of the solution.

2.137 The committee is strongly of the view that road safety is not simply a road transport problem. A range of factors - including social, economic, health, infrastructure and education - can also have an impact on achieving improved safety.

Recommendation 5

2.138 The committee recommends that the Australian Government works with states and territories and local government to ensure that all existing road safety programs are designed to implement Safe System principles across all government policy areas, including health and education.

Recommendation 6

2.139 The committee recommends that the commonwealth works with states and territories to ensure that funding avenues are identified that specifically support local councils to attract and retain the relevant skills and expertise required for development of all aspects of road safety policy, infrastructure and maintenance.

118 Mr David McTiernan, Australian Road Research Board, Committee Hansard, 20 July 2020, p. 28.

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Chapter 3

Parliamentary Standing Committee

3.1 The National Road Safety Strategy (NRRS) Inquiry reported that as the NRSS review progressed, it became very apparent that issues around leadership and management were of concern to a large number of stakeholders. The NRSS Inquiry's findings made it clear that "political will at the highest level of government" would be required to address the 'implementation failure' of the previous decade.1

3.2 Based in part on the NRSS Inquiry's findings, as part of its terms of reference, the committee was tasked with gauging support for the "possible establishment of a future Parliamentary Standing Committee on Road Safety"2 and seeking stakeholder views on what the functions of such a committee should be.

3.3 Overall, submitters were largely very supportive of the establishment of a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Road Safety (Standing Committee).3

3.4 In expressing its strong support for the establishment of a Standing Committee, the Australasian College of Road Safety (ACRS) for example, argued that:

This would be an entirely appropriate response from the Australian Parliament to the National Inquiry commissioned by the Australian Government, affording the inquiry report, and the response to that report by the Australian Government the significance it deserves. Sustained policy and legislative attention will be required at a parliamentary level if we are to recover from our current performance slump and get road safety on track towards our common goal of eliminating serious road trauma by 2050.4

3.5 The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) was also "highly supportive of the establishment of a permanent Standing Committee on Road Safety". The AAA argued that:

A permanent Standing Committee could play an important role in improving the transparency of Government action on road safety. With the

1 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety

Strategy 2011-2020, Final Report, September 2018, p. 31.

2 Journals of the Senate, No. 11, 1 August 2019, pp. 352-354.

3 See, for example, Insurance Australia Group, Committee Hansard, 21 July 2020, International Road

Assessment Programme (iRAP), Submission 52; NSW Government, Submission 50, Australasian College of Road Safety (ACRS), Submission 42 and Australian Local Government Association, Submission 41.

4 Australasian College of Road Safety (ACRS), Submission 42, p. 7.

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new NRSS currently under development, a Standing Committee would play an important role in overseeing its development, and ensuring accountability for implementation of measures within the next NRSS.5

Role of the Standing Committee 3.6 The Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF) also indicated its support for the establishment of a Standing Committee on Road Safety. ARSF argued that a Standing Committee, a dedicated Road Safety Minister and the Office of

Road Safety (ORS) are "critical to expanding the focus on road safety and the health and wellbeing impacts on the nation"6 and suggested that a Standing Committee's functions should include:

 establishing future national road safety targets;  establishing a national leadership position in relation to road safety and road trauma;  developing scope to ensure accountability for achieving those targets;  exploring systems and initiatives to expand cultural change into the safe

systems approach;  establishing greater collaboration with all sectors associated with road safety;  overseeing and enhancing coordination between all levels of government;  ensuring road safety is viewed as a priority across all government sectors;  ensuring overall accountability for the nation's road safety performance;  developing greater integration of road safety and road trauma awareness

with greater engagement of the health and education sectors; and  developing Australia's capability to influence road safety in the Asia-Pacific region.7

3.7 In addition to having a role in promoting collaboration with, and support for state/territory and local government road safety programs, the ACRS argued that a Standing Committee would be supported by those businesses and community interest groups who are concerned about road safety. The ACRS submitted that the following major issues could be incorporated into the Standing Committee's terms of reference:

 Investment timelines - short, medium and long-term investment needs in Australia for achieving zero road fatalities and serious injuries by 2050.  Investment decision making processes - the re-orientation of investment decision making processes within the land transport sector to favour road

safety: such as a requirement for states and territories to publish safety star

5 Australian Automobile Association (AAA), Submission 27, p. 3.

6 Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF), Submission 7, p. 9.

7 Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF), Submission 7, p. 9.

53

ratings for their road networks, or the establishment of a National Road Safety Fund.  Support for new vehicle safety technology - the acceleration of market uptake and regulatory decision making regarding critical new vehicle safety

technology, such as matching European regulation of intelligent speed adaptation and autonomous emergency braking.  Address imbalance relative to outcomes - reducing inequalities in road safety outcomes, such as those suffered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander groups and other geographic, user and socio-economic groups.8

3.8 In supporting the establishment of a Standing Committee, the Insurance Australia Group (IAG) argued that it would provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to have a say in road safety policy-making, and provide an opportunity for elected officials to hear from experts and constituents in relation to how that policy can be best constructed. A Standing Committee could also play a valuable role in terms of conducting inquiries into specific areas of road safety policy, for example: connected vehicles, vulnerable road users, indigenous road users and urban planning.9

Bipartisan approach 3.9 The importance of a future Standing Committee taking a bipartisan approach was stressed by submitters. Expressing support for the establishment of a committee, the ACRS argued that the "Standing Committee should actively

foster and maintain a bipartisan spirit in its endeavours". It should also:

…be prepared to hold the Australian Government of the day to account for achievement of safety results for the people of Australia. It should also be prepared to engage constructively on legislative and policy proposals from the Government, including providing support for safety focused decisions which may have proved contentious in the past, and promoting collaboration with and support for State Government and Local Government road safety management programs.10

3.10 The Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) also indicated its support for the establishment of a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Road Safety, and stressed that road safety is a bipartisan issue that requires both national leadership and regular review.11

3.11 The Australasian Trauma Society (ATS) argued that bipartisan support for the Standing Committee would be required to ensure its success. The group also told the committee that it would support the establishment of a Standing

8 Australasian College of Road Safety (ACRS), Submission 42, p. 7.

9 Insurance Australia Group (IAG), Submission 34, p. 7.

10 Australasian College of Road Safety (ACRS), Submission 42, p. 7.

11 Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Submission 47, p. 4.

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Committee, provided it is given the power to enforce policy change based on appropriate advice from the ORS (and the governance oversight committee of the ORS).12

3.12 The Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF) also pointed to the need for a bipartisan approach - and argued that it will be critical to uniting road safety stakeholders and achieving national leadership in relation to road safety.13

Leadership 3.13 Austroads stressed the fact that the responsibility for land transport rests largely with state and territory governments, rather than the Commonwealth. It was submitted, however, that while the Commonwealth does not have

primary responsibility for land transport matters, it could "have a leadership role in relation to national road safety".14 Austroads argued therefore, that the focus for a Commonwealth parliamentary committee should be on:

 areas where the Commonwealth has responsibility, including vehicle standards and the adoption and implementation of international treaties relating to road safety; and

 identifying areas of successful road safety practice adopted by state, territory or local governments and making recommendations on ways to encourage the adoption of sound road safety practices Australia-wide.15

Accountability 3.14 The International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) told the committee that the measurement and accountability for the achievement of key road safety KPIs over the next ten years will be "critical to ensuring that 400,000

Australians are not killed and injured during that period". The group argued that ensuring that accountability is set at the right level of Government and related stakeholders will require "good governance, transparency of reporting, resourcing, action and measurement of success". In providing its support for the establishment of a Standing Committee to perform this function, iRAP also argued that it would "help ensure that the right level of financial and human resources are mobilised" to work toward improved road safety, noting that:16

An important part of this function is to make sure that the 2021-2030 National Road Safety Strategy currently under development includes clear accountability, well defined and measurable targets and a commitment to measure and report on progress. Soft language, unambitious targets and

12 Australasian Trauma Society (ATS), Submission 10, [p. 3].

13 Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF), Submission 7, p. 9.

14 Austroads, Submission 39, p. 6.

15 Austroads, Submission 39, p. 6.

16 International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP), Submission 52, [p. 13].

55

blurred accountabilities must be avoided in the next Strategy. This will simplify the role of the Standing Committee in providing the necessary leadership and oversight of Australia's performance, sharing of success and refocussed action and learnings when performance is poor.17

3.15 In providing its support for the establishment of a Standing Committee to perform this function, iRAP argued that it would "help ensure that the right level of financial and human resources are mobilised" to work toward improved road safety.

3.16 The Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) noted that while the NRSS sets a vision and provides a formal outline of how Australia proposes to address the road safety issue, "there is limited accountability at the national and jurisdictional level to ensure delivery of the strategy and its action plans".18

3.17 The ARRB submitted that a Standing Committee could:

 provide oversight and a degree of accountability to the delivery of road safety;  serve as a mechanism for reporting progress on meeting agreed performance targets;  engage with experts and agencies to seek out best practice and consider

implementation to support the national agenda;  commission reports on issues of national relevance.19

3.18 The ARRB also suggested that a Standing Committee could be set up to mirror - on a national scale - the efforts of the NSW Staysafe Standing Committee, or the Parliamentary Road Safety Committee in Victoria. The Standing Committee could also investigate emerging road safety issues and those issues which may not otherwise receive parliamentary attention.20

Stakeholder coordination 3.19 It was argued that while there are various programs that are working to address the problem of road trauma and promote road safety, there also needs to be greater cooperation across all road safety stakeholder groups to "form a

united front to eradicate deaths, illness and injuries on our roads".21

3.20 The NSW Government argued that Standing Committees can be of genuine assistance to the Parliament in the performance of its functions. It was also argued that committees can increase public awareness and debate on issues under consideration by the Parliament and provide benefit to the community -

17 International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP), Submission 52, [p. 13].

18 Australian Road Research Board (ARRB), Submission 32, p. 11.

19 Australian Road Research Board (ARRB), Submission 32, p. 11.

20 Australian Road Research Board (ARRB), Submission 32, p. 11.

21 Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF), Submission 7, p. 9.

56

by reviewing proposed laws, facilitating more informed policy making and ensuring greater government accountability.22

3.21 Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) pointed to the complexity of working with individual states that have their own ministerial imperatives, and noted that this is particularly difficult when various aspects of road safety are federal, state and territory or local government responsibilities. It was argued, therefore, that one of the things a Standing Committee could achieve would be:

…to actually direct the Office of Road Safety to better coordinate transmission of those effective programs from state to state to make sure that where there is a program that is very effective. For example, child restraint fitting stations in one state could get transmitted and rolled out across other states to stop each state from having to reinvent the wheel and reinvent the wheel in a slightly different way, which may or may not be as effective.23

3.22 The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) welcomed the introduction of a Standing Committee, particularly if the committee "provides an opportunity for organisations to participate in policy making and to have their views placed on the public record, and considered as part of the decision-making process. It was submitted that the Standing Committee should play a role in:

 ensuring that there is national consistency of regulations applying to vehicles, drivers, roads and road infrastructure;  ensuring effective coordination between all departments, agencies and stakeholders.24

Recommendations for a different oversight body 3.23 The George Institute for Global Health (George Institute) acknowledged that there is currently a gap in road safety oversight, and suggested that it "might be filled by a parliamentary standing committee". It was argued, however,

that "better oversight could also be achieved by the establishment of a government appointed body", for example an ombudsman or commissioner.25

3.24 It was suggested that such a body should sit outside of government and investigate crashes involving all ages and user groups across Australia. The body could also make recommendations to state governments and advocate for resources to address the public health problem of road trauma - potentially

22 NSW Government, Submission 50, p. 17.

23 Professor Lynne Bilston, Neuroscience Research Australia, Committee Hansard, 20 July 2020, p. 16.

24 Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), Submission 29, [p. 4].

25 The George Institute for Global Health, Australia, Submission 40, [p. 5].

57

seeking funding from organisations such as the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).26

3.25 The George Institute submitted that a new body could also be charged with the oversight of coordinated, multi-sectoral policies, undertaking forensic analysis of all crash events and making appropriate recommendations to government. The Institute cited as an example a recent report of the Child Death Review Team, which focused on child passenger deaths in NSW. The report provided a detailed forensic analysis of fatalities on our roads, and included a set of recommendations aimed at reducing preventable deaths.27

Committee view 3.26 The NRSS Inquiry pointed to stakeholder concerns around both leadership and management, and made it clear that addressing the 'implementation failure' of the previous decade would require "political will at the highest level

of government".28

3.27 The committee has remained mindful of these findings throughout its inquiry, particularly while evaluating stakeholder support for the establishment of a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Road Safety. The committee also sought stakeholder views on the functions this type of committee should fulfil.

3.28 The committee was pleased to note that overall, stakeholders support the establishment of a Standing Committee, with several arguing that a parliamentary committee is the most appropriate response to the findings of the NRSS Inquiry Report, and will give the issues the attention and significance they deserve.

3.29 The committee notes that stakeholders have clear expectations regarding the role of a Standing Committee. The committee agrees with those stakeholders who stressed the need for any future Standing Committee to take a leadership role, maintain a bipartisan approach to road safety, ensure accountability, and promote better coordination across all jurisdictions and all road safety stakeholder groups.

3.30 The committee is also in strong agreement with the view that a future Standing Committee would provide a vehicle for stakeholder groups to have their views (and their expertise) taken into consideration, and to participate in the policy-making process.

3.31 The committee does note, however, that there are several obstacles that will need to be overcome to ensure that the Standing Committee is able to operate

26 The George Institute for Global Health, Australia, Submission 40, [p. 5].

27 The George Institute for Global Health, Australia, Submission 40, [p. 5].

28 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety

Strategy 2011-2020, Final Report, September 2018, p. 31.

58

as a fully functional stakeholder and make a valuable contribution to improving road safety.

3.32 It will be important, for example, to establish how a Standing Committee will interact with non-Commonwealth bodies, such as state and local governments to ensure the best outcomes nationally. A clear line of accountability that allows the Standing Committee to oversee the Transport and Infrastructure Council (TIC) would be crucial in ensuring its effectiveness.

Recommendation 7

3.33 The committee recommends the establishment of a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Road Safety.

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Chapter 4 Road network

4.1 This chapter examines road quality and considers measures to evaluate and improve Australia's road network, including opportunities to integrate Safe System principles into infrastructure investment. The experiences and needs of vulnerable road users are also discussed, in particular, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

Road quality 4.2 Concerns about road quality featured heavily in evidence before the committee. Submitters highlighted the varied quality of Australia's road network and, in particular, the risks associated with travelling on lower quality roads in

regional and remote areas.

4.3 It is noted that the National Road Safety Action Plan 2018-2020 aims to achieve 3-star AusRAP ratings or better for 80 per cent of travel on state roads, including a minimum of 90 per cent of travel on national highways.1

4.4 However, the National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS) Inquiry Report quoted statistics which demonstrated that 7 per cent of travel is on 1-star roads and 28 per cent on 2-star roads for vehicle occupants.2

4.5 According to the NSW Government, the proportion of NSW state roads with an AusRAP safety rating of 3 stars and above is 70 per cent in metropolitan areas and 42 per cent in regional areas.3

4.6 The Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA) submitted to the inquiry that a key challenge in addressing road quality "is the widening gap in safety performance between rural/remote and urban road networks, and between national/state and local road networks".4

4.7 In its submission, the NSW Government informed the committee that:

Local roads also have a more diverse range of road environments than State roads, from high-speed rural roads to local streets with residential, shopping and school functions. They often have a greater mix of road users, particularly pedestrians and cyclists.5

1 Transport and Infrastructure Council, National Road Safety Action Plan 2018-2020, May 2018, p. 6.

2 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety

Strategy 2011-2020, Final Report, September 2018, p. 63.

3 NSW Government, Submission 50, p.15.

4 Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA), Submission 9, p. 3.

5 NSW Government, Submission 50, p. 20.

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4.8 WALGA quoted statistics which show that local roads have a higher percentage of fatalities and injuries compared to state roads. The committee heard that the risk of drivers being involved in a casualty crash can be between 1.5 and 2 times higher on the local road network than on the state road networks.6

4.9 The committee heard that the varied quality of Australia’s regional road network contributes to a comparatively higher number of crashes and fatalities. For example, Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) cited evidence that, despite making up only 16.5 per cent of the nation's population, regional and remote areas account for 65 per cent of road deaths.7

4.10 The Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) informed the committee that "while many people travel through regional areas, evidence shows it is largely locals who are dying on regional roads".8 It also highlighted that crashes resulting in hospitalisation are more likely to occur in metropolitan areas, because higher speeds (involved in regional areas) mean a crash is more likely to result in a fatality instead of an injury.9

4.11 NatRoad directed the committee to a related finding of Infrastructure Australia that, relative to population size, the number of fatalities in regional areas between 2008 and 2016 was over four times than that of major cities.10

4.12 Dr John Crozier also reflected on the cost of road trauma - which is estimated to cost the economy approximately $30 billion per year.11 In response to a question regarding whether the cost (or impact per person) is higher in rural and regional areas (as opposed to those in metropolitan areas), Dr Crozier confirmed that approximately two-thirds of deaths are on rural and regional roads. Dr Crozier also noted:

There is an acknowledgement this is a 900,000 kilometre roadway system in Australia. Disproportionately more of those deaths are single-vehicle runoffs on rural and regional roads. The metropolitan component of the crash is more likely to deliver a survivor but a seriously injured survivor.12

4.13 Dr Crozier told the committee that in relation to specific costs:

What I can say is that a brain-injured patient is several million dollars; it's a payment beyond $4 million for a seriously brain-injured person alone. And

6 Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA), Submission 9, p. 3.

7 Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), Submission 14, p. 7.

8 Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17, p. 5.

9 Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17, Attachment 1, p. 7.

10 NatRoad, Submission 15, p. 5.

11 Dr John Crozier, Committee Hansard, 20 July 2020, p. 4 and Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and

Dr John Crozier, Answers to Questions Taken on Notice, Public Hearing, 20 July 2020 p. 1.

12 Dr John Crozier, Committee Hansard, 20 July 2020, p. 4.

61

somebody who has got a spinal cord injury, quadriplegic or paralysed, it is a $4 million whole-of-life or disability adjusted cost for those. But those two elements of the survivors and the serious injury are the biggest component, the biggest single element of the matrix of injured in the $30 billion spend.13

4.14 The characteristics and causes of, and risks associated with, crashes on regional and remote roads were raised consistently in submissions.

4.15 The Australasian College of Road Safety (ACRS) suggested that rural road use and associated crashes have a number of common characteristics including:

 generally higher travel speeds and consequently a greater risk of resulting fatality or serious injury in the event of a crash;  longer travelling distances;  a more varied road environment, including a higher proportion of unsealed,

dirt roads;  a more varied vehicle population, with more heavy, agricultural and mining vehicles; and  a higher representation of single vehicle crashes, particularly run-off road

crashes.14

4.16 The ACRS summarised the view put by a number of submitters to the inquiry by noting that:

Rural drivers generally operate in areas with higher speed limits, travel on roads potentially with a lower level of roadside maintenance in terms of general road condition, location of roadside obstacles such as trees etc. and the potential for animal strikes.15

4.17 The NSW Government argued that some of the factors consistently associated with regional and remote crashes mean that a more tailored approach to road safety is required. It was noted, for example, that those who live in rural and regional areas have limited access to public transport, and are frequently required to travel longer distances. It is these types of issues that necessitate more 'regionally focussed' road safety strategies.16

4.18 The committee heard evidence from ANCAP and RACV which indicated that "high-speed, single vehicle, run-off road crashes remain the most common fatality crash type in these areas".17

4.19 Similarly, the Australasian Trauma Society (ATS) submitted that due to the greater risk of serious injury and death in rural areas, "these regions warrant

13 Dr John Crozier, Committee Hansard, 20 July 2020, p. 4.

14 Australasian College of Road Safety (ACRS), Submission 7, p. 7.

15 Australasian College of Road Safety (ACRS), Submission 7, Attachment 1, p. 9.

16 NSW Government, Submission 50, p. 15.

17 Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), Submission 14, p. 7.

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even greater attention than is due to urban areas". It proposed that a number of measures to address the disproportionate impact of road trauma in regional areas, including:

 improved access to safer car designs;  safer speed limits;  separation of vulnerable road users from traffic; and  encouraging the use of public transport and building more effective public

transport systems.18

4.20 Asked to account for the reasons for these risks, Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) told the committee that:

They involve things such as less access to the safest vehicles, the characteristics of roads and travel patterns in non-urban areas, and a number of other factors that we really don't understand. While efforts to improve the take-up of modern technology to improve safety in crashes is one avenue—for example, vehicle safety standards—improved road infrastructure is also needed in some areas and research is required to understand the remaining factors we currently don't know how to address so that we can develop effective solutions and implement them nationally.19

4.21 Many other submitters agreed that there is a need to improve technology uptake, with a specific focus on regional drivers. In particular, ANCAP argued that the accelerated uptake of collision avoidance technology, such as speed assist systems, autonomous emergency braking and lane support systems, would reduce rural and regional road crashes.20

Improving road quality 4.22 There was compelling evidence before the committee to indicate that upgrading infrastructure offers significant improvements for road safety. Submissions referred to a number of road improvement options, ranging from

low cost road markings to higher cost intersection upgrades and full highway duplication.

4.23 The NRSS Inquiry reported that much of the road safety benefit in the past decade has been associated with improvements to the national and state-managed major road system together with metropolitan centres.21

18 Australasian Trauma Society (ATS), Submission 10, p. 3.

19 Professor Lynne Bilston, Neuroscience Research Australia, Committee Hansard, Canberra, 20 July

2020, p. 15.

20 Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), Submission 14, p. 7.

21 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety

Strategy 2011-2020, Final Report, September 2018, p. 63.

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4.24 The Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia (RACWA) advised that "effective low-cost safety treatments such as sealing shoulders, installing audible edgelines, medians and/or centre-lines are critical to reduce regional road trauma on a larger scale".22

4.25 The relationship between speed limits and road infrastructure was highlighted in the NRSS Inquiry Report:

An audit of the road system is not required to realise that many speed limits currently across the Australian road network are not conducive to eliminating harm. Many local streets—which are often used by pedestrians and cyclists—have speed limits of 50km an hour, a limit well in excess of the biomechanical tolerances of pedestrians and cyclists of around 30km an hour. Similarly, a regional back road with no shoulders, narrow profile, and no line markings, and a high-volume, multi-lane highway with protective barriers share the same 100km an hour limit. These anomalies need to be rectified and speeds better aligned with the road infrastructure.23

4.26 In its submission, ANCAP highlighted that some of the automated vehicle technologies already in service rely on infrastructure for their effective function. For example, "lane support systems need to be able to 'read' the lane marking to assist with keeping the vehicle within the intended lane".24

4.27 NatRoad submitted that "appropriate road infrastructure, including suitable rest areas for heavy vehicles, is a critical component of enhancing heavy vehicle safety outcomes".25

4.28 The Australian Motorcycle Council warned the committee that general treatments designed for other road users may not have the same effectiveness for motorcyclists. For example, "motorcycles generally only have two wheels, and unlike cars are much more likely to be adversely affected by road conditions".26

4.29 The committee heard that although motorcycles make up only approximately 5 per cent of the Australian traffic fleet, they represent approximately 20 per cent of all road fatalities.27 The Australian Motorcycle Council proposed a number of 'simple and relatively inexpensive' measures to improve motorcycle safety, including:

22 Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia (RACWA), Submission 31, p. 3.

23 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety

Strategy 2011-20, Final Report, September 2018, p. 58.

24 Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), Submission 14, p. 16.

25 NatRoad, Submission 15, p. 4.

26 Australian Motorcycle Council Inc, Submission 11, p. 1.

27 Australian Motorcycle Council Inc, Submission 11, p. 1.

64

 sealing edges and shoulders, particularly on curves;  installing centre and edge line markings on all roads; and  improving sight lines through obstruction removal and intersection design.28

4.30 The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (Department of Infrastructure) submitted that the Australian Government evaluates the benefits achieved from road safety measures in infrastructure projects.29 However, submitters such as Streets Alive Yarra expressed concern that the "existing programs, mechanisms and policy measures are ineffective".30

4.31 In evidence, the Department of Infrastructure advised that:

Whilst it's very encouraging and positive to have the federal partnership agreement anchored in the reference to considering safe systems as part of that funding arrangement, I think the next step is actually specifying a standard for safety treatments when we're investing in the road network.31

4.32 The Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) informed the committee that "at present, there is no reliable way to compare the effects of safety initiatives from jurisdiction to jurisdiction".32 According to the ARRB, there would be value in investigating the effectiveness of different treatments.

4.33 The ARRB also submitted that the treatments which result in reduced fatal and serious crashes do not differ depending on where you are.33

4.34 The RACV, on the other hand, proposed a number of treatments specific to either regional and remote or metropolitan areas. It submitted:

In country areas, if a driver leaves their lane because of a moment of inattention, rumble strips can alert them, sealed shoulders provide space to recover, and barriers prevent them from hitting a tree, pole, or another vehicle.34

4.35 Further treatments specific to metropolitan areas were described by the RACV as including "traffic calming measures including roundabouts, speed humps

28 Australian Motorcycle Council Inc, Submission 11, pp. 1-2.

29 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, Submission

38, p. 7.

30 Streets Alive Yarra, Submission 12, p. 4.

31 Mr Bernard Carlon, Centres for Road Safety and Maritime Safety, NSW Government, Committee

Hansard, 22 July 2020, p. 3.

32 Australian Road Research Board (ARRB), Submission 32, p. 13.

33 Australian Road Research Board (ARRB), Submission 32, p. 13.

34 Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17, Attachment 1, p. 26.

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and chicanes, better infrastructure to keep bicycle riders safe, and better management of intersections".35

Infrastructure investment and safety 4.36 Road safety can be improved through infrastructure investment in a number of ways. For example, by either improving the infrastructure design (eg. low-cost treatments such as line-marking, signage and roadside hazard removal, or

higher cost treatments such as barriers, footpaths and intersection upgrades) or through a reduction in the operating speed (eg. lower urban speed limits, point to point speed cameras and vehicle technologies).

4.37 The committee heard that substantial road safety benefits will be achieved when road safety outcomes are integrated into the planning and design of all new major transport projects. The NSW Government argued that "this requires mandating of core road safety requirements for road design and network corridor planning".36

4.38 In evidence, WALGA raised the issue of targeted funding for road safety strategies and projects and the way in which it's used in rural, regional and remote areas. WALGA noted that funding is frequently used to maintain current assets rather than improve road safety outcomes. The committee was told that:

…the financial reality, particularly for rural and regional local governments, is that the vast majority of the funding that they have available for roads in general - and most of the funding is applied to roads - is really still trying to play catch-up in terms of maintaining the asset. So we see those funds very much being prioritised for resheeting and resealing type activity, which, in the current environment, doesn’t necessarily produce a better safety outcome. I guess one of the things that we are working with our members to do is to try to look for opportunities: where that funding is being used for what is essentially renewal or maintenance activities, are there incremental ways of improving the safety of that road as part of that project?37

4.39 The committee received evidence which suggested that investment in infrastructure, with a view to improving road safety, could have far-reaching benefits for both public health and economic growth. President of Safer Australian Roads and Highways, Mr Peter Frazer, argued that:

An unimproved road which has had a number of serious injuries and fatalities is a burden on the health system, whether it's part of funding by the Commonwealth, the state or territory. What we need to do is say: if we do this improvement, we're actually saving money for the economy, not

35 Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17, Attachment 1, p. 27.

36 NSW Government, Submission 50, p. 18.

37 Mr Ian Duncan, Western Australian Local Government Association, Committee Hansard, 20 August

2020, p. 7.

66

just infrastructure. So we need to look at the benefit-cost ratios associated with improvements in these areas, but we also need to talk globally and we need to have each of the ministries affected involved in this discussion. As I said, one of the big by-products is health—serious injury is actually going to affect the health budget, not the infrastructure budget, so we need to look at this holistically.38

Infrastructure funding linked to safety performance 4.40 In accordance with its terms of reference, the committee considered measures to ensure state and territory, and local government road infrastructure investment incorporates the Safe System principles.

4.41 Submitters identified a number of opportunities to embed road safety targets into infrastructure funding at the federal and state level, such as safety performance criteria. In addition, submitters and witnesses described the potential for mandated AusRAP Safety Ratings to reduce road trauma in Australia.

4.42 In evidence, Dr John Crozier proposed that road safety ought to be given greater consideration when allocating funding through Infrastructure Australia:

There is business modelling that Infrastructure Australia uses as it attributes and allocates funding. Safety is an element of those algorithms but there is some opportunity to further refine and increase the value of that element in the algorithms that are used for the disbursement of the funding.39

4.43 The NRSS Inquiry identified the need for better targeting of infrastructure safety funding to address the major crash types on Australian road networks, including the growing problem of crashes involving vulnerable road users. The inquiry reported that Infrastructure Australia does not promote or encourage infrastructure projects that primarily deliver road safety improvements and reductions in road trauma.40

4.44 In its submission, the ACRS asserted that performance measures are the primary way to drive safe road infrastructure across state, territory and local networks. The ACRS also noted that safety star ratings for vehicles—delivered through ANCAP—have been successful, and a similar approach could be delivered onto Australian roads. The key recommendation was that the Australian Government support the development of a road safety star rating, and mandate its usage for any Commonwealth investment in road network infrastructure.

38 Mr Peter Frazer, Safer Australian Roads and Highways Inc, Committee Hansard, 20 July 2020, p. 23.

39 Dr John Crozier, Committee Hansard, Canberra, 20 July 2020, p. 7.

40 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety

Strategy 2011-20, Final Report, September 2018, p. 63.

67

4.45 Mr Michael Bradley noted the support of the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) for infrastructure investment to be tied to safety outcomes: "we would like to see those billions of taxpayer dollars tied to safety outcomes in state and territory jurisdictions".41

4.46 The AAA submitted that use of a road rating system, such as iRAP, not only incentivises the improvement of rate safety, but also provides flexibility to state, territory and local governments to tailor solutions to the local context.

4.47 Expanding on this, Mr Bradley told the committee:

You can do that without having to be prescriptive about what technology has to be rolled out in any given circumstance, because you're not going to have a one-size-fits-all solution given the diversity of Australia's landscapes and the different road safety challenges being addressed in any given situation.42

4.48 The NSW Government outlined a number of practical safety treatments presently funded across the state and targeted towards the specific types of crashes that are occurring on the network, including safety barriers, audio tactile line marking, shoulder improvements and motorcycle underrun.43 It summed up the return on investment, saying the cost-benefit ratio of this investment "delivers a benefit of around $5 for every dollar invested".44

Star ratings for roads 4.49 The NRSS Inquiry Report proposed that all Commonwealth infrastructure funding should include star rating and safety performance criteria, and that Safe System Assessments should be used at the planning and completion

stages of all projects.45

4.50 Throughout the inquiry, the committee received a large volume of evidence relating to star ratings for roads in relation to safety. The idea that infrastructure investment could be linked to a star rating system was a common element in many submissions, such as that received from Streets Alive Yarra, the RACV and the NSW Government.

4.51 In evidence, the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) described the increasing push to approach roads - and guidance for roads - in terms of road safety through a star system: a two-star, three-star, four-star system. It

41 Mr Michael Bradley, Australian Automobile Association, Committee Hansard, 22 July 2020, p. 25.

42 Mr Michael Bradley, Australian Automobile Association, Committee Hansard, 22 July 2020, p. 28.

43 Mr Bernard Carlon, Centres for Road Safety and Maritime Safety, NSW Government, Committee

Hansard, 22 July 2020, p. 2.

44 Mr Bernard Carlon, Centres for Road Safety and Maritime Safety, NSW Government, Committee

Hansard, 22 July 2020, p. 3.

45 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road

Safety Strategy 2011-2020, Final Report, September 2018, p. 65.

68

was noted that there have been discussions at a Ministerial Council level about the need for every road manager to undertake a network-wide analysis of road safety. The committee was told that each road manager will:

…need to understand, on their own road networks, the level of road safety - what would be an applicable star level - and what needs to be done to raise the standard of safety across the network. For most councils, that's an extraordinary challenge; they have a large number of roads and very few resources. It's a struggle for state governments, which have enormous networks, to undertake that work.46

4.52 ALGA also noted, however, that under the Queensland Government's regional model, an amount of funding is set aside, with part of that reserved funding used to finance pilot schemes, "where groups of councils have undertaken an analysis of their own roads, with the idea of working out what is an appropriate level of safety on those roads, what the current level is and what can be done to improve that standard". ALGA submitted that the Queensland Government's approach, which is driven by regional structures, makes a solid contribution to improving road safety.47

4.53 The Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) proposed that all road infrastructure funding should be linked to a demonstrable increase in road safety. The ARRB expressed support for the use of a road rating system - particularly if the system was able to achieve improved road safety.48

4.54 The committee heard that Australian Road Assessment Program (AusRAP) was developed by the RACV and the AAA as a simple measure of how safe a road is. AusRAP assigns a star rating from 1-star (least safe) to 5 stars (safest) by assessing the safety features built-in to the road.49 This process involves an inspection of several design elements such as lane and shoulder width, curvature of the road and the presence of safety barriers.

4.55 The committee heard that star ratings are particularly useful in order to quantify the level of risk associated with road design. The AusRAP analysis contained in the AAA’s Star Rating Australia’s National Network Of Highways indicated that safe roads with design elements such as dual lane divided carriageways, good line markings and wide lanes have a higher star rating, while lower-rated roads are likely to have single-lanes and be undivided with

46 Mr Adrian Beresford-Wylie, Australian Local Government Association, Committee Hansard, 20

August 2020, p. 3.

47 Mr Adrian Beresford-Wylie, Australian Local Government Association, Committee Hansard, 20

August 2020, p. 3.

48 Mr David McTiernan, Australian Road Research Board, Committee Hansard, 20 July 2020, p. 27.

49 Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17, Attachment 1, p. 26.

69

poor line marking and hazards such as trees, poles and steep embankments close to the edge of the road.50

4.56 The NSW Government advised that it had been using International Road Assessment Programme (i-RAP) ratings across the NSW state road network. The committee heard that, at present, 80 per cent of the NSW state road network is three stars and below. The committee was also told that the NSW Government has commenced a pilot program which will support three local government areas to do the same in their local jurisdiction.51

4.57 The RACV estimated that there are over 180 000 kilometres of regional roads with 100km/h speed limits in Victoria. The group reported that, at the current level of funding, upgrading these roads to a minimum 3-star safety standard would likely take around 1 000 years.52 Further, the RACWA argued that "there is no transparency over how this is being measured or whether this is being achieved".53

4.58 At the same time, however, the RACV reiterated its support for a minimum 3-star standard of safety on existing major highways, and proposed that newly constructed sections of highway be required to meet a safety rating of no less than 4-stars.54

4.59 The committee was advised that, at present, there is no central depository for star-rated data on road infrastructure, and data collected remains the property of states and relevant agencies. Stakeholder group i-RAP expressed support for the establishment of an AusRAP hub as part of the Office of Road Safety (ORS) to "coordinate national partnerships, data, innovations, communications and reporting".55

4.60 Advocating for the publication of star rating and risk-mapping data to guide investment and inform navigation decisions (in line with international examples), i-RAP CEO, Mr Rob McInerney told the committee:

We'd like to see proactive star ratings and investment plans on the national and state highway networks, systemically, every three to five years, that feed into the Infrastructure Australia audits but that also feed the

50 Australian Automobile Association (AAA), Star Rating Australia’s National Network of Highways,

2013, p. 4.

51 Mr Bernard Carlon, Centres for Road Safety and Maritime Safety, NSW Government,

Committee Hansard, 22 July 2020, p. 2.

52 Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17, Attachment 1, p. 19.

53 Royal Automobile Club (RAC), Submission 31, p. 5.

54 Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17, Attachment 1, p. 27.

55 Mr Rob McInerney, International Road Assessment Programme (i-RAP), Committee Hansard, 21

July 2020, p. 31.

70

investment pipeline of government, just as is happening in Mexico and is now mandated across the European Union.56

Key performance indicators 4.61 In evidence, the Australasian Trauma Society (ATS) suggested that federal funding should be linked to road safety outcomes, using key performance indicators. It was argued that "if there were funding attached to the

achievement of the KPIs, there would be a lot more chance of successful achievement of some of the things we need to get the safe system up and working". ATS also submitted that linking infrastructure investment to key performance is "the only way we're going to achieve the end aim of decreasing deaths and serious injuries towards zero".57

4.62 When asked for the ATS' view on what the KPIs should include, Professor Anthony Joseph told the committee that:

 KPIs should be linked to the Safe System approach;  KPIs should be linked to companies (or states and territories) having their fleet cars fitted with the latest injury reduction technology;  KPIs should be linked to all states and territories having all their roads rated

at three stars or greater - particularly the higher-volume roads;  evidence that appropriate licensing processes are in place should be required - particularly for vulnerable drivers; and  it may also be appropriate to link KPIs with decreases in maximum speed

limits.58

4.63 The NRSS Inquiry found that more than a third of all road deaths and severe injuries could be saved if the NRSS Action Plan 2018-2020 achieved the target for 90 per cent of travel on national highways to be on 3-star or better roads, and 80 per cent of travel on state roads to be on 3-star or better roads.59

Road funding and management responsibilities 4.64 The issues around road quality, road funding and jurisdictional responsibility were raised by stakeholders - particularly in relation to how funding is allocated across all levels of government.

56 Mr Rob McInerney, International Road Assessment Programme (i-RAP), Committee Hansard, 21

July 2020, p. 31.

57 Associate Professor Anthony Joseph, Australasian Trauma Society, Committee Hansard, 20 July

2020, p. 12.

58 Associate Professor Anthony Joseph, Australasian Trauma Society, Committee Hansard, 20 July

2020, p. 12.

59 Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17, Attachment 1, p. 27.

71

4.65 State and territory governments are largely responsible for funding, planning, designing and operating the road network, managing vehicle registration and driver licensing systems, and regulating and enforcing road user behaviour.

4.66 Local governments have traditionally taken responsibility for funding, planning, designing and operating the road networks in their local areas. In addition to council revenues, local governments rely on grants and federal and state funding to maintain and improve the road network.

4.67 The role of the Federal Government - in terms of infrastructure investment - was raised by a number of stakeholders, including the NSW Government, which argued that there are two specific areas in which the Commonwealth could make a significant difference: road safety infrastructure and vehicle safety. It was submitted that:

The Commonwealth can ensure that funding for new roads and major road improvements is contingent on delivery of specific safe-distance infrastructure treatments such as median and roadside barriers.60

4.68 The Department of Infrastructure advised that, in terms of expenditure on roads, the Commonwealth currently provides funding across a number of programs, including:

 the Black Spot Program;  Roads to Recovery;  the Bridges Renewal Program; and  the Heavy Vehicle Safety Productivity Program.61

4.69 ALGA pointed to the challenges faced by local government - particularly in relation to road funding - and emphasised the fact that although local government is responsible for managing approximately 75 per cent of Australia's roads (by length), they "do that with about 3.4 per cent of Australia's tax revenue".62

4.70 ALGA noted the Transport and Infrastructure Council's (TIC) strong focus on road safety, and argued that this reflects the fact that road safety is a national issue. ALGA also noted that local councils vary greatly in terms of capacity, and stressed that the assistance local government receives from state and

60 Mr Bernard Carlon, Centres for Road Safety, NSW Government, Committee Hansard, 22 July 2020,

p. 2.

61 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, Submission

38, p. 4-6.

62 Mr Adrian Beresford-Wylie, Australian Local Government Association, Committee Hansard, 20

August 2020, p. 1.

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territory governments (and from the Commonwealth) is essential to improve road safety outcomes.63

4.71 A number of stakeholders suggested that local government could be utilised more effectively to incorporate Safe System principles into investment in road infrastructure.

4.72 WALGA asserted that in "reality large parts of the aging network do not yet meet the current minimum standards". It was also noted that the effort and investment required to achieve Safe System standard roads is likely to be a substantial under-estimate.64

4.73 WALGA submitted that underlying the ambition to incorporate Safe System principles, is the assumption that transforming the road network is simply a matter of upgrading roads from the current minimum standards to Safe System quality. It was argued, however, that the "effort and investment required to achieve this is largely unknown".65

4.74 The committee was advised that addressing this knowledge gap, will require a review and assessment of road networks across Australia to support the development of a sound evidence base for investment in road infrastructure.66

4.75 One solution proposed by WALGA involves increased and sustained funding to local government which would enable assessment and application of a star rating to local road networks.67

4.76 Similarly, the ARRB submitted that targeted infrastructure investment would be far more effective if informed by a local government understanding of road safety issues in local communities. It was proposed that:

Councils must be able to easily determine how and where to invest what funding they have. This will require ranking of sites with high crash risk based on reactive (blackspot) analysis coupled with predictive techniques like iRAP and corridor stereotype assessments along with mass action treatment solutions.68

4.77 ALGA submitted that, in addition to road safety infrastructure investment, there are other things that can be done, including: "looking at the way individual roads interact with other roads, looking at the speed limit on those

63 Mr Adrian Beresford-Wylie, Australian Local Government Association, Committee Hansard, 20

August 2020, p. 1.

64 Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), Submission 41, p. 4.

65 Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), Submission 41, p. 4.

66 Streets Alive Yarra, Submission 12, p. 6.

67 Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA), Submission 9, p. 4.

68 Australian Road Research Board (ARRB), Submission 32, p. 13.

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roads, looking at other things that can control driving".69 Further, ALGA told the committee that:

If we have a balanced approach to investment as well as control, enforcement, speed limits we can raise the level of safety for roads up to that three star level. It's a great contribution and the Commonwealth, of course, has for such a long time been the main supporter of Austroads in financial terms and a major contributor. It's probably through that mechanism that the Commonwealth has been most effective in providing capacity contribution to a local government, not just funding.70

4.78 Stakeholders noted that relevant to the assessment of the safety of roads and the application of a star rating is local government’s capacity, combined with limited funding and resources spread across varying priorities. The ARRB, for example, advised that:

There is no requirement for local government to [apply the Austroads methodology] at the moment, which I think is a gap in our understanding of where risk exists across the nation. Having said that, it requires an investment in skills and it requires an investment in funding for that analysis to be undertaken… The mechanisms are there but there is still the need to invest in that skill and to support local government to apply it to their road network. That would be the limitation there—not necessarily their capability but their ability through funding.71

4.79 The committee also heard that both the NSW and Queensland Governments work with local government through consultation and various funding mechanisms to achieve road safety outcomes.

4.80 The Department of Transport and Main Roads Queensland (TMR), for example, outlined the model used by the Queensland Government:

We have a road and transport alliance here in Queensland with local government with a number of regional road and transport groups with clusters of councils that work with our regions. They have various funding sources. They look at the network and look at what's the most important and highest order investment across the middle tier roads that are shared within the road hierarchy.72

69 Mr Adrian Beresford-Wylie, Australian Local Government Association, Committee Hansard, 20

August 2020, p. 4.

70 Mr Adrian Beresford-Wylie, Australian Local Government Association, Committee Hansard, 20

August 2020, p. 4.

71 Mr David McTiernan, Australian Road Research Board, Committee Hansard, 20 July 2020, pp. 27-28.

72 Mr Dennis Walsh, Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Committee Hansard, 22

July 2020, p. 16.

74

4.81 In response to a question about local government capacity, TMR advised that a capability program within the alliance "is specifically designed to assist in supplementing the resources that councils have at their disposal".73

4.82 Evidence to the inquiry suggested that further work may be required to better coordinate efforts across jurisdictions. Mr Rob McInerney, i-RAP's Chief Executive Officer, observed that one of the key challenges to the effectiveness of road safety initiatives is a lack of coordination.74

Improvements for vulnerable road users 4.83 Stakeholders pointed to the fact that vulnerable road users - such as cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians are affected by road trauma, and argued that road safety strategies should address the needs of all road users.

4.84 Transurban pointed to what it described as a 'specific vulnerability' in Australia's transport network, and argued that it is pedestrians, cyclists, the aged, young drivers, regional communities and those with a range of social mental and health conditions that the transport system should be designed and operated to protect.75

4.85 Some stakeholders also questioned whether the Safe System approach outlined in the NRSS actually meets the needs of all road users. Specifically, the Motorcycle Council of New South Wales expressed concern that the strategy fails to engage with the specific needs of vulnerable users such as motorcycle riders.76

4.86 The need to better protect vulnerable road users from death and serious injury was raised by stakeholders. The committee received evidence on the issue of survivable interaction speeds, as well as a number of proposals regarding reduced speed limits.

4.87 The committee was advised that even if struck at the default urban speed limit, cyclists and motorcyclists are likely to be seriously injured or killed. The RACV told the committee, for example, that in 2018, 38 per cent of fatalities and 47 per cent of hospitalisations were vulnerable road users (motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians).77

4.88 The Amy Gillett Foundation, also argued that speed plays a key role in the outcome of crashes involving vulnerable road users. The Foundation noted that

73 Mr Dennis Walsh, Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Committee Hansard, 22

July 2020, p. 17.

74 Mr Rob McInerney, International Road Assessment Programme (i-RAP), Committee Hansard, 21

July 2020, p. 31.

75 Transurban Limited Submission 13, p. 3.

76 Motorcycle Council of NSW, Submission 16, pp. 6-7.

77 Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17, Attachment 1, p. 8.

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data shows the risk to pedestrians for injury increases from as low as 20km/h with the likelihood of death increasing exponentially at speeds above 40km/h.78

4.89 The correlation between speed and survivability was noted in the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020, as the following figure - 'survivable impact speeds for different crash scenarios' - shows.79

4.90 Figure: Survivable impact speeds for different crash scenarios

4.91 Source: Australian Transport Council, National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020, May 2011, p. 60.

4.92 The committee received evidence from a number of stakeholder groups which argued that a reduction of certain speed limits has significant potential to reduce death and injury - particularly of vulnerable road users. The issue of speed management is considered further in Chapter 6.

Road sharing initiatives 4.93 A number of submitters expressed support for safe road sharing initiatives, noting that proposals for safer and more intuitive road sharing will generally benefit the interests of both cyclists and pedestrians.

4.94 A particular focus was on road sharing initiatives that either:

 separate the different road user groups using designated spaces; or

78 Amy Gillett Foundation, Submission 26, p. 11.

79 Australian Transport Council, National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020, May 2011, p. 60.

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 where road user groups share space, foster awareness and an inclusive, respectful attitude between the groups.80

4.95 Stakeholders also suggested that, in many parts of Australia, a lack of alternative transport options compounds the problems associated with improving road safety. Several organisations called for increased investment in public transport and safe road sharing initiatives.81

4.96 Victoria Walks, for example, argued that a road safety strategy framed around a model shift would improve safety for the most vulnerable users and "could be the 'game changer' that allows us to make substantive progress in reducing road trauma".82

Pedestrians 4.97 A number of submissions conveyed specific concerns about pedestrians as vulnerable road users. The Amy Gillett Foundation, for example, informed the committee that over the past two decades pedestrians have made up between

13 and 14 per cent of road fatalities.83 Victoria Walks attributed these statistics to the fact that pedestrians are not protected in the same way vehicle occupants are and, as such, are four times more likely to be injured than other road users as a result of a crash.84

4.98 The committee also heard that older people are over-involved in pedestrian crashes. They are also more likely to be severely injured or killed than younger pedestrians. Victoria Walks explained that, while pedestrian deaths have decreased over the past decade (at a rate of 0.5 per cent per annum), the number and proportion of older pedestrians killed, has steadily increased.85

4.99 A range of proposals were put forward with a view to increasing the safety of pedestrians as road users. These included: dedicating a portion of transport funding to pedestrian safety projects, requiring greater focus on the safety of vulnerable road users in vehicle safety standards, and adopting a target for an ongoing annual reduction in both pedestrian fatalities and pedestrian hospitalisations.86

80 Victoria Walks, Submission 25, pp 7-8.

81 Victoria Walks, Submission 25, p. 7.

82 Victoria Walks, Submission 25, p. 7.

83 Victoria Walks, Submission 25, p. 8.

84 Victoria Walks, Submission 25, p. 8.

85 Victoria Walks, Submission 25, p. 1.

86 Victoria Walks, Submission 25, pp 6-11.

77

4.100 The Pedestrian Council of Australia (PCA) outlined a number of measures which, it suggested, could be brought to Australia with very little cost and result in a significant reduction in trauma. These included:

 speed limit reductions in areas of high pedestrian activity;  alternative traffic light setups, such as traffic scrambles and countdown timers; and  pedestrian crossings at roundabouts.87

Cyclists 4.101 Advocates for vulnerable road users, including cyclists, called for more holistic infrastructure spending, which takes into account the needs of all road users. The committee was told that there has been an increase in the number of

pedestrians and cyclists using the road network. At the same time, however, i-RAP noted that "only 25 per cent of our roads are three-star or better for cyclists at the moment".88

4.102 Submitters, including Streets Alive Yarra and Transurban, expressed the view that sustained long-term funding should be provided to local and state government for road infrastructure that aligns with the Safe System approach, including fully separated and protected bicycle lanes.89 Victoria Walks also advocated for distinct funding streams for both walking and cycling infrastructure.90

4.103 The Amy Gillett Foundation emphasised the need for accurate and timely crash data, and argued that "cyclist crashes are significantly under-reported and currently neither police nor hospital reported crashes provide a clear picture of the number of people involved in crashes on their bikes".91

Motorcyclists 4.104 The committee was advised that although motorcycles only make up around 5 per cent of the Australian traffic fleet, they represent approximately 20 per cent of all road fatalities. It was also noted that a significant number of more serious

injuries are due to motorcycle crashes.92

87 Mr Harold Scruby, Pedestrian Council of Australia, Committee Hansard, 21 July 2020, p. 22.

88 Mr Rob McInerney, International Road Assessment Programme (i-RAP), Committee Hansard, 21

July 2020, p. 34.

89 Streets Alive Yarra, Submission 12, p. 45.

90 Victoria Walks, Submission 25, p. 9.

91 Amy Gillett Foundation, Submission 26, p. 8.

92 Australian Motorcycle Council, Submission 11, p.1.

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4.105 The Motorcycle Council of NSW argued that "the rate of improvement in motorcycle safety lags behind that of other road users as a result of motorcycle specific counter-measures not being included in road safety programs".93

4.106 The Victorian Motorcycle Council highlighted the fact that car-centric approaches to improving road safety, often focus on mitigating the consequences of a crash. It was argued, however, that this approach "cannot apply to a motorcycle as a result of the rider being an exposed vulnerable road user".94 Further, it was submitted that:

Any strategy that hopes to win significant and lasting reductions in motorcycle fatality numbers has to fundamentally work to reduce the probability of a rider crashing.95

4.107 Calls for increased motorcycle awareness were complicated by the view that peak motorcycle organisations do not have sufficient level of input into road safety strategies. The committee heard that motorcycle safety is currently treated as an afterthought and that there is "a void in the advisory and consultation process between motorcycle riders and the road safety departments within Government".96

4.108 This issue was also addressed in evidence:

I know that the federal Office of Road Safety is preparing the next road safety strategy, but, even though the Motorcycle Council is the peak body for riders, it's not been consulted regarding that development. So, at that federal level, we don't currently have a contact point. At the state level, most of the state rider organisations would have a contact point with road safety or with their authorities.97

4.109 With a view to increasing the level of consultation between the Government and motorcycle users, the Australian Motorcycle Council and the Motorcycle Council of NSW called for a national representative body to provide a forum for consultation. A body such as the former Motorcycle Safety Consultative Committee was suggested.98

Committee view 4.110 Road infrastructure was one of the key issues raised by stakeholders throughout the inquiry. A significant number of stakeholder groups pointed to

93 Motorcycle Council of NSW, Submission 16, p. 5.

94 Victorian Motorcycle Council, Submission 30, p. 14.

95 Victorian Motorcycle Council, Submission 30, p. 14.

96 Australian Motorcycle Council, Submission 11, p. 4.

97 Mr Brian Wood, Secretary, Motorcycle Council of NSW and Treasurer, Australian Motorcycle

Council, Committee Hansard, Canberra, 22 July 2020, p. 12.

98 Australian Motorcycle Council, Submission 11, p. 4; Motorcycle Council of NSW, Submission 16, pp

3-4.

79

infrastructure as having a major impact on road safety, and stressed that improvements to road safety will require all jurisdictions to ensure that road infrastructure is fit for purpose.

4.111 Specifically, the committee agrees with those stakeholder groups which argued that more could be done to guarantee that state, territory and local government road infrastructure investment incorporates Safe System principles. To this end, a key future task should be an assessment of the current condition and rate of change of Australian roads, particularly for local roads.

Recommendation 8

4.112 The committee recommends the Australian Government ensure all Commonwealth funded road projects incorporate Network Design for Road Safety principles.

Recommendation 9

4.113 The committee recommends that the Australian Government work with state, territory and local governments to collect accurate data on the current condition and rate of change of Australian roads.

Recommendation 10

4.114 The committee recommends that Australian Government identify priority roads for dedicated and targeted road funding partnerships with the relevant jurisdictions to improve the star rating performance of road infrastructure for all road users.

Recommendation 11

4.115 The committee recommends that the Australian Government support and fund research into the effectiveness of varying road treatments in a wide range of circumstances, with a view to improving the road safety outcomes of infrastructure investment.

4.116 The committee notes that the impact of road trauma, both economically and socially, is well established. In the absence of alternatives, road networks will continue to play a vital role connecting communities and facilitating commerce through the efficient transportation of goods and access to services, particularly in Australia’s regions.

4.117 Evidence to the inquiry made clear the over-representation of road deaths in regional and rural areas. The committee considers it important that measures to improve road safety outcomes recognise the unique challenges and the disproportionate representation of regional communities in road trauma statistics.

80

4.118 The committee acknowledges the concerns raised by motorcycle representative bodies, which submitted that they had not been adequately consulted in relation to the development of road safety strategies. The committee is of the view that the Australian Government should consult widely on the next NRSS (for the decade 2021-2030). Consultation should be undertaken in relation to the full range of matters relating to vulnerable road users, including the specific needs of motorcycle riders.

4.119 The committee considers it important that measures to improve safety outcomes for motorcycle riders recognise the unique characteristics of motorcycles. To this end, the committee supports the ORS to maintain on-going connection and consultation with the peak motorcycle bodies to ensure there is a focus on matters of particular importance to motorcycle safety.

Recommendation 12

4.120 The committee recommends that the Australian Government establish a national consultative committee on motorcycle safety.

4.121 The committee acknowledges the ongoing community advocacy for improvements to infrastructure - specifically the infrastructure used by vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. The committee notes the Australian Government’s promotion of road sharing through the $100 billion investment pipeline, and participation in the Cycling and Walking Australia and New Zealand group.99 The committee encourages ongoing consideration of appropriate investments that support the improvement of safety for vulnerable road users.

99 Australian Government, Australian Government response to the Rural and Regional Affairs and

Transport References Committee Final and Interim Reports on: Aspects of road safety in Australia, June 2020, p. 10.

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Chapter 5

Vehicle fleet management

5.1 Recent reports indicate that older vehicles are over-represented in fatal vehicle crashes, and that the average age of a vehicle involved in a fatal crash is increasing. Over the past three years, the average age of light vehicles (passenger vehicles and SUVs) in Australia has remained constant - at 9.8 years. In 2015, the average age of a vehicle involved in a fatal crash was 12.5 years; this rose to 12.9 years in 2016, and increased to 13.1 years in 2017.1

5.2 The National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS) Inquiry Report noted that the capacity of vehicles to protect occupants in a crash has increased considerably over recent years. It has been a factor in reducing serious trauma on Australia's roads. It was estimated that 36 per cent of the 1 260 reduction in deaths per year, for the period 2000-2017, can be attributed to improved vehicle safety.2 Newer, safer vehicles include the latest protective structures for occupants and other road users, and are fitted with effective collision avoidance technologies.

5.3 The NRSS Inquiry Report noted, however, that while safer vehicles can deliver incremental benefits over the long term, it takes around 20 years to achieve fleet turnover.3

5.4 The NRSS Inquiry Report also pointed to the fact that most Australian workplaces have a "significant and often under-resourced road safety risk to manage".4 The report cited figures which indicated that of the 3 414 workers who died in workplace accidents between 2003 and 2016, 39 per cent of the incidents were as a result of a vehicle collision. It was noted that injury levels from road crashes also make up a significant proportion of workplace injury.5

5.5 It was argued that Government has both a legal and moral obligation to ensure road safety is mainstreamed in all departments, and associated supply

1 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety

Strategy 2011-2020, Final Report, September 2018, p. 52.

2 Bureau of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities, Modelling road safety in Australian states

and territories, Information Sheet 94, March 2018, p. 4 cited in Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020, Final Report, September 2018, p. 52.

3 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety

Strategy 2011-2020, Final Report, September 2018, p. 25.

4 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety

Strategy 2011-2020, Final Report, September 2018, p. 65.

5 SafeWork Australia statistics cited in Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John

Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020, Final Report, September 2018, p. 65.

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contracts and partnerships. It is vital therefore that more careful attention is paid to things such as vehicle, mode and route choices, road user behaviour training, technology and operating standards, incident response systems and other Safe System practices. Having established that there are a number of corporate organisations leading the way in terms of workplace safety, the Report argued that there are things Government can learn from industry in this key area of road safety.6

The Australian vehicle fleet 5.6 The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) told the committee that vehicle manufacturers "acknowledge that they cannot readily influence all parameters involved in road safety and that their direct responsibility is with

vehicle design and safety performance". It was noted, however, that safety improvements have been achieved due to changes in design (including vehicle structure and enhanced energy absorption capabilities) and the incorporation of specific occupant protection systems (including safety restraint systems and airbags).7

5.7 It was noted that, in addition to performing better in relation to crashes, modern vehicles are also better equipped to avoid a crash altogether. Advances in crash avoidance technology mean that vehicles are increasingly able to provide driver warnings, maintain control, effectively brake, remain in lane, and provide effective lighting of roadways to help reduce the risk and severity of a crash.8

Vehicle Standards Regulation 5.8 Despite the fact that vehicle safety is a central issue when it comes to road safety (and all vehicles supplied to the market are required to comply with mandatory safety, environmental and security standards) it was noted that the

items covered tend to lag behind the development of more enhanced safety systems.9

5.9 Noting that the Commonwealth has the lead responsibility for implementing legislative and regulatory changes to vehicle standards in Australia, the NSW Government expressed concern that the "timeframes for mandating safety features for vehicles entering Australia's market do not align with the world's best performing countries". It was argued that currently "the process in Australia to mandate critical vehicle safety features is so prolonged that

6 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety

Strategy 2011-2020, Final Report, September 2018, p. 65.

7 Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), Submission 29, [p. 3].

8 Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), Submission 29, [p. 4].

9 NSW Government, Submission 50, p. 26.

83

technologies sometimes either become standard in most vehicles or are obsolete by the time regulatory changes are made to mandate them".10

5.10 In most parts of the world, technical safety standards are based on the regulations of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), which are increasingly based on European Union (EU) Standards. The NSW Government noted that Australia is a signatory to both the 1958 and the 1998 UNECE Agreement and submitted that adoption of UNECE Standards "provides access to international standards and removes the need for local development of standards".11

5.11 The committee was advised that:

The European Union has led to the European parliament announcing plans to implement a new regulatory package addressing 16 types of vehicle safety technologies to become mandatory from 2022, which could take effect through a series of UN regulations. The regulatory package will help transform Europe's vehicle fleet into one of the safest in the world. The Australian government is in a position to leverage the expensive work already completed in Europe to align the new Australian regulations, commencing within the same time frame as the European regulatory package. This is within the remit of the federal government and would provide substantial trauma savings, not just in New South Wales but in all jurisdictions.12

5.12 The NSW Government also observed that currently, in Australia, the safety benefits of non-mandatory critical vehicle safety features are primarily observed in light passenger vehicles such as cars. However, the adoption of these safety features is less commonly observed in non-passenger vehicles, such as light commercial vehicles. It was argued that:

The problem is compounded as even when a feature becomes mandatory, light commercial vehicles are usually allowed a greater lead-in time than passenger vehicles. For example, evaluations consistently estimate a 40 per cent reduction in rear-end crash risk in cars fitted with autonomous emergency braking (AEB); yet less than one per cent of NSW-registered light commercial vehicles have AEB, compared to over 30 per cent of NSW-registered passenger vehicles. Despite the proven benefits of AEB, there is no mandatory requirement to fit this life-saving feature in new model passenger and light commercial vehicles.13

5.13 In was noted that in August 2019, it was agreed - and announced by the Transport and Infrastructure Council (TIC) - that the Commonwealth would

10 NSW Government, Submission 50, p. 27.

11 NSW Government, Submission 50, p. 27.

12 Mr Bernard Carlon, Centres for Road Safety and Maritime Safety, Transport for NSW, Committee

Hansard, 22 July 2020, p. 2.

13 NSW Government, Submission 50, p. 27.

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streamline processes to improve the uptake of new safety technology in Australia for the new vehicle fleet. While the NSW Government welcomed this announcement, it urged for "more tangible and swift action to be taken at the national level". It was argued that by adopting the same time frame as the EU (for the Australian regulatory impact statement process) the incorporation of those safety features could be brought forward in NSW.14

5.14 A specific focus of the Victorian Government's submission was the need for shorter timelines for the adoption of international regulations into the Australian Design Rules (ADRs). It was argued that efforts should be made to prioritise the suite of vehicle technologies (soon to be adopted in Europe) that would have the greatest benefit in reducing road trauma in Australia.15

5.15 The Victorian Government noted that it is encouraged by the work being undertaken by the Commonwealth to accelerate the mandatory introduction of AEB into passenger and light commercial vehicles. However, it argued that "more needs to be done to expedite new safety features that will become compulsory in new cars, trucks, vans and buses in Europe from 2022.16

5.16 It was suggested that states and territories could assist the Commonwealth to fast-track ADR implementation by conducting research and studies in specific areas and technologies. The Victorian Government's contribution to research (which supported the mandating of Ani-lock Braking Systems for motorcycles) was cited as an example of working to expedite the process.17

5.17 The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (Department of Infrastructure) suggested that there may be some misconceptions "out there as to what the EU time frame and the EU general safety regulation is". The committee was advised that the EU has put forward an aspirational program of works - which is their general safety regulation - in the same way as a country like Japan or Australia regularly do. Further, it was explained that:

…a lot of this is actually predicated on what happens in the UN. It's actually our UN regulatory process, where we sit on Working Party 29, which gives effect to the broader policies so that you get a more global approach to those standards. We look at things through very much an Australian lens. We wouldn't necessarily adopt an EU regulation that talks

14 Mr Bernard Carlon, Centres for Road Safety and Maritime Safety, Transport for NSW, Committee

Hansard, 22 July 2020, p. 2.

15 Road Safety Victoria, Department of Transport (Victoria), Submission 48, p. 4.

16 Road Safety Victoria, Department of Transport (Victoria), Submission 48, p. 4.

17 Road Safety Victoria, Department of Transport (Victoria), Submission 48, p. 5.

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about how you'd have safety for snow. We would try to work out what the sorts of cars are that come into the Australian market.18

5.18 The Department of Infrastructure argued that Australia is not necessarily behind, and advised that regulations are examined in terms of what is relevant within the Australian context. It was noted, for example that Australia leads the world in things such as pole-side impact and child restraints. 19 At the same time, however, it was acknowledged that:

…there are some things where we're perhaps a little bit further behind, such as the AEB. But we're going to have our RIS out on the AEB very shortly. Some ADR information went out to industry yesterday, for example. From our perspective, we will very much have a program of works that we will set out in the National Road Safety Strategy, which will align with the time frame of the UN. Much of that will be complementary to the EU or ahead of the EU, but it will also look at what's happening in those other markets as well.20

5.19 FCAI pointed to the design of vehicles as one of the important factors in road safety, and noted that modern vehicles are much safer than the ones they have replaced over time. At the same time, however, FCAI warned against focusing solely on the specifications of new vehicles, which it argued totally disregards the need to accelerate the renewal of Australia's vehicle fleet. It was noted that the average age of Australia's vehicle fleet has been steadily increasing, and is currently estimated at 10.2 years, which is much older than best practice being achieved in some areas of Europe and Asia.21

5.20 Further, FCAI noted that as at December 2019, there had been 20 consecutive months of decline in new vehicle sales. It was argued, therefore that if new, advanced vehicle technologies are to have a more immediate and significant effect on Australia's road toll, governments at all levels will have to consider what policy measures may be required to:

 remove barriers to new vehicle purchases; and  encourage existing owners to choose newer, safer vehicles.22

5.21 FCAI also advised that at the average age of 10.2 years, based on mandated fitment, new vehicle technology advances will only penetrate the market at a

18 Ms Jessica Hall, Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and

Communications, Committee Hansard, 20 August 2020, p. 28.

19 Ms Jessica Hall, Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and

Communications, Committee Hansard, 20 August 2020, p. 28.

20 Ms Jessica Hall, Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and

Communications, Committee Hansard, 20 August 2020, p. 28.

21 Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), Submission 29, [p. 4].

22 Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), Submission 29, [p. 2].

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rate of five per cent per year or reach just under 50 per cent after ten years and therefore have negligible immediate effect.23

5.22 In evidence, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) supported FCAI's point, and acknowledged the fact that while a lot of new vehicles have new safety technologies, "it takes some time to penetrate into the fleet and have enough vehicles in the fleet with the technologies".24

5.23 Noting that while the average age of the vehicle fleet is 10.2 years, the average life of a vehicle is approximately 20 years, ANCAP was asked about systems that may be adaptable post-production, and which could be fitted to cover the 10 or 15 year gap. The committee was advised that:

…it's very difficult to retrofit the types of technologies that we're talking about, and starting from our base, in occupant protection and passive safety, it's definitely not possible. When we start to look at active safety, probably the best chances are in things like the connected vehicle space, where it may be possible to retrofit some road information type systems to the vehicle and so on. I think that retrofitting something like AEB or pedestrian detection, even lane departure warning - the latter may be possible, but the effectiveness would be a lot lower than a system that's built in. I think our real pressure there is to try, where possible, to have the newest possible vehicles and to also try and get road users that are high risk in the safest vehicles.25

Workplace fleet vehicles 5.24 A recently published Austroads safety guide targets firms, organisations and individuals who use vehicles for work purposes. The guide points to vehicle use in road traffic as "the most significant contributor to work-related

traumatic injury",26 and argues that the impact of harm caused (by road traffic injury within workplaces and across the community) is significant. It also points to the impact road trauma can have on businesses, in terms of both productivity and business continuity, noting that even the temporary absence of an employee can have a major impact on the viability of small and growing businesses.27

23 Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), Submission 29, [p. 5].

24 Mr Mark Terrell, Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), Committee Hansard, 17

August 2020, p. 2.

25 Mr Mark Terrell, Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), Committee Hansard, 17

August 2020, p. 2.

26 The Austroads publication: Austroads, Vehicles as a Workplace: Work Health and Safety Guide, March

2019, was published jointly with WorkSafe ACT, NT, SA and Tasmania, the Queensland Government and Comcare.

27 Austroads, Vehicles as a Workplace: Work Health and Safety Guide, March 2019, p. 4.

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5.25 The Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF) referred to SafeWork Australia figures which indicate that over the past decade, a significant number of those killed at work were as a result of motor vehicle incidents.28 The ARSF argued that despite driving a vehicle potentially being "one of the most dangerous activities within a workplace", the risk management practices across many organisations "do not extend the same level of diligence as they would for other risky workplace activities".29

5.26 Organisations have a responsibility to provide and manage safe workplaces, particularly when workers are required to use vehicles as part of their employment. These may include the following situations:

 vehicles are owned, leased or hired by the organisation as work vehicles;  vehicles are owned, leased or hired by the organisation for private use but are used incidentally in the course of work (for example, vehicles included in salary packaging arrangements);

 vehicles operated by other organisations which their workers use, either as drivers or passengers;  vehicles owned or leased by workers that are used in the course of their work, either regularly or from time to time (often referred to as 'grey fleet'

vehicles); and  public transport vehicles, including trains, buses, taxis and ride share vehicles.30

5.27 While many organisations do have policies and procedures to manage the acquisition, operation and use of their own vehicles, many pay much less attention to the other vehicles that may be used, in particular, the grey fleet. Workplace health and safety legislation does not make a distinction between those vehicles an organisation directly owns (or leases) and other vehicles. Outsourcing vehicle operations (to contractors or to employees themselves) does not remove the obligation for an organisation to provide a safe workplace. Questions around the application of workplace health and safety duties are largely determined on the facts and circumstances of each case, rather than contractual terms.31

5.28 Road safety and workplace health and safety are both complex areas, and it has been acknowledged that historically, freight and passenger travel time efficiency has been the central goal of Australia's road transport system.32 It has

28 Safe Work Australia, Work-Related Traumatic Injury Fatalities 2012, October 2013 cited in Australian

Road Safety Foundation, Submission 7, p. 10.

29 Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF), Submission 7, pp 10-11.

30 Austroads, Vehicles as a Workplace: Work Health and Safety Guide, March 2019, p. 2.

31 Austroads, Vehicles as a Workplace: Work Health and Safety Guide, March 2019, p. 3.

32 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety

Strategy 2011-2020, Final Report, September 2018, p. 25.

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also been observed that organisations across different industry sectors (and operating different types of fleets) will identify different risks that need to be managed. They will also adopt and implement different processes, depending on the size and maturity of their workplace health and safety systems.33

5.29 The complex issues around vehicle fleet management and work-related road trauma were, therefore, raised by a number of submitters as major challenges to those working toward improved road safety. Stakeholders stressed the fact that work-related road trauma is the highest single contributor to work-related deaths and injuries, and pointed to statistics which they consider unacceptable.34

5.30 It was estimated that between 50 and 60 per cent of all new vehicles are sold to businesses or corporate fleets35, approximately two out of three vehicles on the road are involved in a work-related trip, and on average, company drivers travel more than twice the annual distance of private car drivers and have around 50 per cent more incidents. It was also submitted that work-related road crashes currently account for approximately half of all occupational fatalities and 15 per cent of national road deaths - with people killed or seriously injured while travelling to and from work.36

5.31 FCAI argued that governments should consider a range of policies which encourage businesses to provide their employees with the safest possible, fit for purpose vehicles. FCAI submitted that increasing businesses' awareness of their occupational health and safety obligations, providing incentives to encourage vehicle changeover (to safer more modern vehicles) and encouraging the adoption of safer vehicle technologies would increase the safety of fleet vehicles. It was also argued that if business and government fleets are more regularly updated, it would result in more modern vehicles entering the used vehicle market - at pricing levels that some used vehicle consumers may be able to afford - and lead to a reduction in the average vehicle age.37

5.32 As the "single largest light fleet operator in NSW" the NSW Government either owns or leases over 20 000 light vehicles.38 As part of its Road Safety Plan 2021

33 Austroads, Vehicles as a Workplace: Work Health and Safety Guide, March 2019, p. 5.

34 See, for example, Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF), Submission 7; Australian Trucking

Association (ATA), Submission 1; National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), Submission 37; NSW Government, Submission 50.

35 Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF), Submission 7, p. 11, citing data obtained from the NSW

Road and Traffic Authority, and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (2003).

36 Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF), Submission 7, p. 11, citing data obtained from the

Australian Transport Council (2011).

37 Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), Submission 29, [p. 10].

38 NSW Government, Submission 50, p. 12.

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(RSP 2021) the NSW Government updated its fleet procurement policy to guarantee all vehicles purchased are fitted with the latest safety technologies, including AEB and other driver assist technologies. It was argued that ensuring vehicles entering the NSW Government fleet have the highest level of safety technology, helps control the risks associated with road crashes and complements road safety strategies. With approximately 6 500 fleet vehicles replaced annually, the NSW Government noted that it supplies a significant number of vehicles to the used car market every year, and pointed to the benefits of having increased numbers of used vehicles (fitted with safety technologies) on our roads.39

5.33 The NSW Government submission advised that under its Motor Vehicle Pre-Qualification Scheme, only vehicles with a five-star ANCAP safety rating can be procured.40 It was noted, however, that driver assist technologies are constantly evolving, meaning that recent technologies are often only available in the most recent vehicle models. The NSW Government advised that managing its vehicle fleet in the face of technological advancement means:

…that there can be a gap between five-star rated vehicles and the safest ones now available, so the Scheme needs to be constantly reviewed. Transport for NSW consulted extensively with the then NSW Department of Finance, Service and Innovation (DFSI) and other relevant agencies to identify the most effective approach for updating the NSW Government fleet procurement policy for a staged implementation for different vehicle categories. This commenced in late 2018, and vehicles eligible for the scheme must have autonomous emergency braking, a lane keep assist system and a reversing safety system, subject to available in the vehicle class and suitability for purpose.41

5.34 The NSW Government observed that research - and the equivalent regulatory impact statements undertaken by the EU - indicate that implementation of these new technologies would provide a benefit to the economy. The committee was told that, currently, NSW has "reasonably low levels of full take-up of those particular systems within our fleet, mainly because it takes a long time for turnover in the fleet".42

5.35 In addition, the committee was informed that:

The evidence that we have suggests that, the earlier we can introduce those life-saving technologies within our fleet, the time frames for the saving of lives in crashes on our roads is significantly brought forward. We know that a significant proportion of the benefits that we've had in the measures

39 NSW Government, Submission 50, p. 12.

40 There are exceptions for some vehicle classes where five-star rated vehicles are not available.

41 NSW Government, Submission 50, p. 13.

42 Mr Bernard Carlon, Centres for Road Safety and Maritime Safety, Transport for NSW, Committee

Hansard, 22 July 2020, p. 3.

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that have been introduced over the last decade has been achieved through the vehicle safety features and the improvement of the safety features of vehicles over the last decade.

5.36 The Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) described the workplace as key area in which people can be targeted with road safety messages aimed at changing behaviour. It was noted that there has been an increasing recognition that vehicles are part of the workplace, and mechanisms exist - through workplace health and safety legislation - to integrate road safety into the core issues taken seriously by employers.43

5.37 TMR pointed to the guidelines developed by Austroads, noting that they "provide practical risk management guidance for individuals and organisations who use vehicles on public roads for work". TMR argued that this success could be replicated in other transport sectors, including finding new ways to embed road safety in fleet management policies.44

Heavy vehicles 5.38 TMR also acknowledged that some sections of the heavy vehicle industry have shown leadership through a range of measures designed to combat driver fatigue and distraction, including work done in collaboration with the

National Road Safety Partnership Program (NRSPP).45

5.39 The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) argued that while great progress has been made in reducing the number and rate of truck crashes, the number is still unacceptable. The ATA noted that it supports a vision zero target, and expressed the view that every "road user should be able to get home safely every day". To achieve this aim, it was argued that governments need to continue using the Safe System approach to work towards safer roads, safer vehicles, improved safety systems and better information to link it all together.46

5.40 The committee was advised that the ATA's focus, when it comes to accelerating the uptake of proven safety technologies, is on mandating emergency braking for new trucks. The ATA argued that if this is implemented - with the extension of mandatory electronic stability control to new rigid trucks - "the technology would save 102 lives and prevent more than 2 500 serious injuries".47

5.41 In evidence, the ATA explained that its position is that:

43 Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Submission 47, p. 3.

44 Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Submission 47, p. 3.

45 Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Submission 47, p. 3.

46 Mr Bill McKinley, Australian Trucking Association, Committee Hansard, 17 August 2020, p. 11.

47 Mr Bill McKinley, Australian Trucking Association, Committee Hansard, 17 August 2020, p. 11.

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AEB's should be mandated for new model rigid trucks from November 2020 and from 1 January 2022 for all new vehicles. In terms of prime movers, we've proposed that the prime move start date be one year off those, because, although the technology is well proven, there are implementation issues involving our multi-combination vehicles - long combinations that they don't have in Europe - and also our dirt road operations in Australia, particularly the combination of the two of them. We believe that it needs to be introduced for rigid trucks urgently, in conjunction with mandatory electronic stability control, and that should come in for new vehicle models from 1 November 2020. While we support mandating the technology for prime movers, we do think there needs to be a bit more time for education and to prove the technology before it is mandated, which is why we've proposed a one-year offset.48

5.42 In addition, the ATA told the committee that it sees "the road as a truck driver's workplace", and argued that, like any other worker, they deserve appropriate facilities. Stressing the need for the Commonwealth to prioritise safety in its approach to road spending, the ATA also argued for more consistent standards for building rest areas, including basic amenities such as toilets, water and shade.49

Electric and autonomous vehicles 5.43 Given the increased interest in the purchase of electric vehicles, ANCAP was asked whether it undertakes any additional safety testing of these vehicles, particularly when they are being driven in autonomous mode.

5.44 ANCAP advised that electrical safety is included as part of its assessment. It was noted that if the electrical variant is not what was originally tested, then additional testing is undertaken to ensure that, for example, "in one of the fairly damaging type tests, such as a pole impact test, which could easily damage the battery integrity, that test is undertaken with the battery vehicles".50

5.45 The committee was advised that in an actual crash test scenario, lab technicians will check the voltage on the car, and that the battery has been isolated. Technicians also monitor the battery voltage to make sure that the battery safety systems work, and there are the protocols around testing the ability to unlock doors.51

5.46 ANCAP told the committee, that other than in some very restricted trial situations, Australia does not have vehicles that are able to be driven

48 Mr Bill McKinley, Australian Trucking Association, Committee Hansard, 17 August 2020, p. 14.

49 Mr Bill McKinley, Australian Trucking Association, Committee Hansard, 17 August 2020, p. 11.

50 Mr Mark Terrell, Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), Committee Hansard, 17

August 2020, p. 4.

51 Mr Mark Terrell, Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), Committee Hansard, 17

August 2020, p. 4.

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autonomously - without the supervision of the driver. But, for those vehicles driving under [supposed] driving intervention:

The cases overseas and the rules from overseas are a little different to here. I think the case where drivers are not doing their job is a slightly different situation and not something that is covered in our protocols. At this point, we're looking at the operation of those systems for normal driving.

The types of automated features we're testing are the standard features that you should be able to purchase in any vehicle, like advanced lane support systems, and we're expanding into new automated systems, such as emergency lane keeping. As these systems are developed, test protocols are developed at the same time, and we test them under what would be the expected operating circumstances of the vehicle. 52

5.47 Insurance Australia Group (IAG) acknowledged that the generally accepted discourse on automated and connected vehicles is that they will bring greatly improved safety to our roads. It was argued that approximately 90-94 per cent of accidents are estimated to be caused by human error, and "logic follows that removing human error will result in a dramatically reduced number of accidents". IAG therefore submitted that this type of technology should be welcomed and promoted, and Australia should capitalise on the "safety benefits as well as social and economic benefits that can be gained as early adopters of this technology".53

5.48 At the same time, IAG cautioned against relying on technology as an "all-compassing solution", arguing that large-scale improvements in safety are likely only to be realised when the entire fleet of vehicles is fully automated and connected. IAG also argued that for a variety of social and economic reasons, the switch to automated vehicles is not something that is going to happen overnight, "rather, it appears likely there will be a long transition period where a mixed fleet of automated, semi-automated and connected vehicles are all driving together on the roads".54

5.49 IAG submitted that before autonomous and connected vehicle technology is made available to the Australian market, it will be necessary to test and trial it under a variety of conditions. It was argued that the information obtained from these trials should be shared, and work done collaboratively across a number of industries, to guarantee the technology improves safety and does not add further (or different) compromises. IAG expressed support for the work that the National Transport Commission (NTC) is currently undertaking,

52 Mr Mark Terrell, Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), Committee Hansard, 17

August 2020, p. 4.

53 Insurance Australia Group (IAG), Submission 34, p. 3.

54 Insurance Australia Group (IAG), Submission 34, p. 4.

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which will ensure end to end regulation and the safe commercial deployment of automated vehicles at all levels.55

Committee view 5.50 The safety benefits of newer cars are undisputed. Recent technological advances have the potential to impart a step change in the safety of road transport. However these benefits are going to take time to realise.

5.51 The Australian fleet is relatively old, and at the present trajectory it will take close to 15 years to see the majority of vehicles in possession of the types of safety features which are becoming standard in newer vehicles. These features will save lives and reduce road trauma. The committee is therefore of the view that any efforts which can expedite their uptake would be very welcome.

5.52 While the committee accepts that there are limitations on what government can do to impact the purchasing behaviour of private road users, there are key steps which governments of all levels can do to reduce the age, and therefore improve the safety of the substantial number of vehicles that they operate. The committee is also strongly of the view that employers, whether they be private or public sector have an obligation to provide the safest cars possible for their employees. This applies across all sectors, including heavy vehicles.

Recommendation 13

5.53 The committee recommends that the Australian Government, state and territory, and local governments review their procurement practices to ensure that the safety of vehicles is a key criterion in purchasing decisions.

5.54 The committee has heard significant evidence in relation to the steps the Australian government can take to ensure that all vehicles on Australia's roads meet the highest safety standards possible. There was commentary throughout the inquiry referring to the vehicle safety standards globally, and whether Australia was meeting best practice in terms of both implementation and timeframes.

5.55 The European Union for example has set ambitious targets for the mandatory inclusion of a suite of safety standards in vehicles by 2022. While the committee accepts that not all of these features are appropriate or necessary in an Australian context, various submitters were of the view that there was the need for shorter timelines for the adoption of international regulations into the Australian Design Rules (ADRs), particularly those which will have the greatest impact in reducing road trauma in Australia.

5.56 The committee acknowledges the information provided by ANCAP regarding the level of safety features included in the base models of new vehicles. The

55 Insurance Australia Group (IAG), Submission 34, p. 4.

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committee notes that in terms of safety features, if there is a variant that has a lower specification, that is the one on which ANCAP bases its rating.

5.57 ANCAP told the committee that, since 2018, it is seeing safety features fitted across the board. It was noted that while in some cases there may be some gradation where, for example, the base model of a car has AEB (and it is a camera based system) the higher level might, for example, add a radar fusion system. It was explained that:

They are more expensive and there is a need to recoup the cost, but the basic system, and the system that delivers many of the safety benefits is available on the bottom grades. It will take some time - we made that change in 2018 - for that to percolate through all the models that have been assessed.56

5.58 ANCAP also noted that they regularly assess the fitment of these features where they are optional, and have observed that critical safety features such as AEB and lane-keep assist are becoming almost standard across the board. The committee was told that ANCAP is satisfied with the level of fitment:

We rate 95 per cent of vehicles, and, of the five percent we don't rate, most are high-end, premium vehicles and have these features fitted as well. The level of fitment is excellent, but it does take time to percolate through the system.57

Recommendation 14

5.59 The committee recommends the Australian Government review current timeframes for the mandatory introduction of safety features likely to have the greatest impact on reducing road trauma in Australia.

5.60 Autonomous vehicles, and to a lesser extent, electric vehicles, have the potential to transform road transport in the coming years. While fully autonomous vehicles may be some time away, the autonomous safety features in many new cars are welcomed by the committee. The committee concurs with submitters who argued that Australia should capitalise on the safety benefits as well as social and economic benefits that can be gained as early adopters of this technology.

56 Mr James Hurnall, Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), Committee Hansard, 17

August 2020, p. 3.

57 Mr James Hurnall, Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), Committee Hansard, 17

August 2020, p. 4.

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Chapter 6

Driver behaviour and education

Driver behaviour 6.1 Serious concerns were raised throughout the inquiry regarding the role driver behaviour plays, and how it contributes to road crashes. Stakeholders called for further enforcement measures and education on various subjects, such as

driver distraction, road sharing and safe driving.

6.2 Poor driver behaviour is a particular concern on rural and regional roads. According to Safer Australian Roads and Highways (SARAH) road users are far more likely to be injured or killed on rural and regional roads than they are in urban areas:

One thing we've been emphasising is what happens in our regional communities. As you would be well aware, the rate of injury and death in our regional communities is roughly five times what it is in urban areas. So we have to ensure that our rural and regional roads are built but also that the enforcement that occurs changes attitudes. We must focus on improving outcomes for those who live in regional communities. It requires improved technological enforcement.1

6.3 The Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF) submitted that driver behaviour, and attitude is notably worse on regional roads in comparison to city driving. The committee was told that:

 1 in 3 Australians admit they are more likely to break a road rule when driving on rural roads.  Drivers are 1.5 times more likely to speed on rural roads than they are on city or suburban streets.  Australian road users are twice as likely to overtake on a double line if

driving on a rural road, compared to city or suburban streets.  More than half of drivers who admit they are more likely to break rules on rural roads would do so because they are less likely to be caught by

police.  1 in 4 drivers believe that rural road rules should be relaxed to allow for higher speed limits, higher blood alcohol limits and mobile phone

usage.2

Safety perceptions and attitudes 6.4 The committee heard that community perceptions of the cause of road crashes have shifted substantially over recent years. In 2017, the Department of

1 Mr Peter Frazer, Safer Australian Roads and Highways (SARAH), Committee Hansard, 20 July 2020,

p. 19.

2 Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF), Submission 7, pp 7 and 8.

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Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (Department of Infrastructure) conducted a survey of community attitudes to road safety which revealed that while speed (41 per cent), drink driving (39 per cent) are still considered prominent factors leading to road crashes, there has been a strong upward trend in the perception that distraction through mobile phone use is the principal cause of road crashes, with over one in three respondents (35 per cent) citing this, up from 22 per cent in 2013.3

Distraction 6.5 Submitters highlighted that there are a wide variety of everyday activities that may contribute to driver distraction-related crashes. The committee heard that driver distraction can result from a number of sources such as in-vehicle

distractions, including passenger interactions, mobile phone use and other electronic devices, and external sources of distraction, such as advertising and road signs or events outside the vehicle.4

6.6 Both the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) and Austroads submitted that distraction is a significant road safety risk which has been identified to be a factor in at least 16 per cent of accidents on Australian roads, while international research suggests that up to 37 per cent of road trauma involves driver distraction.5 The RACV cited a recent study which found that drivers engaged in a non-driving activity (while driving) every 96 seconds.6

6.7 In relation to this, the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) submitted that "of the 'fatal five', driver distraction is the least understood, least enforceable, and has a far greater impact on fatal and serious road trauma than current data suggests".7 Aside from anecdotal evidence, there were no statistics available before the committee on the extent to which distraction causes crashes.

6.8 In its submission, the Insurance Australia Group (IAG) called for the Australian Government to commit to sustained public health campaigns on key behavioural issues influencing driver behaviour, including distracted driving.8

3 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, Community

Attitudes to Road Safety - 2017 Survey Report, June 2018, p. 15.

4 Australian Trucking Association (ATA), Submission 1; Amy Gillett Foundation, Submission 26;

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), Submission 29; Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS), Submission 51.

5 Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17, Attachment 1, p. 21; Austroads,

Submission 39, p. 8.

6 Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17, Attachment 1, p. 21.

7 Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Submission 47, p. 8.

8 Insurance Australia Group (IAG), Submission 34, p. 7.

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6.9 In addition to the other general distractions discussed in this chapter, the Australian Motorcycle Council advised that signage placement is often a source of distraction for motorcycle riders. It was argued, however, that this issue receives less attention compared to other types of distractions such as texting or calling while driving. 9

6.10 The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) advised that technological solutions, for example, advanced driver distraction recognition systems, may offer a potential reduction in risk. While such systems will be made mandatory for all registrations from 2026 under the European Union General Safety Regulation, ANCAP was unaware of any work to assign Australian Design Rules (ADR) status to similar technologies in Australia. It recommended that Australia should mandate new vehicle safety technology in the same timeframe as the European Union.10

Mobile phone use - attitudes and enforcement 6.11 Several stakeholders emphasised the need for more enforcement action - specifically, to support education around the use of mobile phones in vehicles. It was also noted that the impact using a mobile phone has on crash risk is

difficult to ascertain, as is the proportion of drivers using mobile phones while driving.

6.12 The committee heard that data on mobile phone use is not routinely collected when a crash occurs.11 Maurice Blackburn also noted that anecdotal evidence from transport workers indicates an increase in the number of handheld devices used while driving.12 The Amy Gillett Foundation called for this data to be collected and used to provide insight into the involvement of distractions in crashes, particularly from mobile devices.13

6.13 The committee was told that the continuing introduction of new electronic features on devices provide additional sources of potential driver distraction. IAG emphasised the importance of consumer education, and argued that "it's also about understanding how these features work and not being overwhelmed by too much distractibility in vehicles".14

6.14 IAG also pointed to the need to change attitudes toward phone use, and submitted that "we need to 'de-socialise' mobile phone use in the car as an okay

9 Australian Motorcycle Council, Submission 11, p. 1.

10 Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), Submission 14, p. 25.

11 Queensland Government, Safer Roads, Safer Queensland: All Roads and All Road Users, 2019, p. 14.

12 Maurice Blackburn, Submission 22, p. 4.

13 Amy Gillett Foundation, Submission 26, p. 8.

14 Ms Cecilia Warren, Insurance Australia Group, Committee Hansard, Canberra, 21 July 2020, p. 5.

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and acceptable thing".15 It was suggested that software-based solutions could block mobile phone use while driving:

In terms of the technology, whether it's at the manufacturer level, at the telco level or in various apps, it could stop access. A lot of it is still about consumer choice and consumers opting into it. I'm not sure how we bridge that it's not okay, unless we actually get people to understand, much like people understand the concept of a designated driver.16

6.15 The committee heard that, at present, these devices and software solutions are largely unregulated from an automotive perspective and there are no industry or government guidelines currently in effect.17 The Federal Council of Automotive Industries (FCAI) suggested that mobile devices be designed to operate in an automotive environment. Specifically, it recommended that:

…governments need to consider developing a set of industry standards for portable and nomadic devices to prevent inappropriate use by a driver whilst in the automotive environment’.18

6.16 Other submitters, including the Victorian Motorcycle Council (VMC) and SARAH supported the use of technology to reduce the impact of mobile phone use on road user distraction. SARAH recommended the use of mobile phone detection cameras to identify and enforce driver distractedness:

Camera enforcement is a mature technology and indeed can be used not just for speeding but for identifying both distracted driving and lack of seat belt wearing by drivers/front seat passengers so increasing the cost/benefit ratio.19

6.17 The VMC concurred that a focus on detection, as well as penalties, would be a much more effective strategy:

Increased penalties may act as a deterrent, however we believe that improved probability of detection will be a more effective deterrent. With a wary eye to civil liberties and privacy concerns, we cautiously support the use of technology to reduce the impact of smart phone use on road user distraction.20

Speed management 6.18 Evidence provided to the committee identified speed as a key risk factor in road traffic injuries. It was argued that higher travel speeds result in a greater risk of fatality or serious injury in the event of a crash.

15 Ms Cecilia Warren, Insurance Australia Group, Committee Hansard, Canberra, 21 July 2020, p. 5.

16 Ms Cecilia Warren, Insurance Australia Group, Committee Hansard, Canberra, 21 July 2020, p. 5.

17 Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), Submission 29, [p. 13].

18 Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), Submission 29, [p. 11].

19 Safer Australian Roads and Highways (SARAH), Submission 33, p. 7.

20 Victorian Motorcycle Council (VMC), Submission 30, p. 11.

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6.19 The committee heard that speed management is an essential component of any road safety strategy that aims to reduce or eliminate road deaths and injury.

Speed limits 6.20 Stakeholders generally indicated support for improved enforcement practices, particularly to ensure a greater compliance with speed limits.

6.21 However, enforcement of current speed limits is not the only issue. Submitters also expressed concern that current speed limits may not be supported by appropriate road infrastructure.21

6.22 The RACV, for example, submitted that "just because a road has always had a certain speed limit, doesn’t mean that the speed limit is safe for that road".22 The RACV argued that an urgent review of regional speed limits - prioritising roads where crashes are occurring, or are most likely to occur - is required.23

6.23 Austroads submitted that "there is a 30 per cent improvement in road safety performance for every 10km/h reduction in speed".24Austroads also argued that:

The speed limits in regional and remote areas are high and do not necessarily reflect the risks of travelling on lower quality roads or in the absence of adequate infrastructure.25

6.24 The RACV expanded their point by suggesting that in lieu of better infrastructure, the focus should be on reducing speeds:

In areas where infrastructure investment is not economically sound, or may be some years away, the safety of the road can also be improved by reducing the speed limit.26

6.25 The Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) told the committee that an informed discussion about an appropriate strategic response will require better data and improved intelligence on road conditions across the country. The ARRB argued that:

…funding is required for compiling data on local roads to map risk, speeds, crashes and road condition ratings of all major council roads in Australia.27

21 See, for example, Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17, p. 7; Victoria Walks,

Submission 25, p. 2; Amy Gillett Foundation, Submission 26, p. 9; Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia, Submission 31, p. 12.

22 Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17, Attachment 1, p. 17.

23 Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17, Attachment 1, p. 19.

24 Austroads, Submission 39, p. 8.

25 Austroads, Submission 39, p. 5.

26 Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17, Attachment 1, p. 18.

27 Australian Road Research Board (ARRB), Submission 32, p. 13.

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Management of speed limits on rural and regional roads 6.26 It was noted that, on regional roads in particular, the speed that a driver chooses will affect their travel time.

6.27 The ARRB raised the issue of reduced speed limits in regional and remote areas specifically, and argued that:

This is a localised problem on high speed rural roads where there is a clear lack of infrastructure investment. Reduced speeds on these local roads will unequivocally result in reduced crashes. But for locals this may mean reduced connectivity, greater travel time, and more exposure time on the road.28

6.28 To alleviate the "trepidation in reducing these limits"29 submitters called for community education about safe speeds, specifically in relation to the greater road safety benefits of reduced speeds (compared to the cost of slightly longer trips).30

6.29 The Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA) noted that while it is supportive of targeted speed limit reductions, the effectiveness of these measures is dependent on ongoing consultation with local government.31 In addition, WALGA stated that:

Underlying that ambition is the assumption that transforming the road network is simply a matter of upgrading roads from the current minimum standard to safe system quality; however, the effort and investment required to achieve this is largely unknown.32

Speed limits and vulnerable road users 6.30 The Pedestrian Council of Australia (PCA) argued that "mobility is always the constant enemy of road safety. If we all did 10 km an hour, no-one would be killed on the roads. But that's impossible".33

6.31 The Amy Gillett Foundation also argued that "lower speed and corresponding lower speed limits are vital for meaningful action on vulnerable road user safety".34 In addition, Victoria Walks advised the committee that the risk of

28 Australian Road Research Board (ARRB), Submission 32, p. 13.

29 Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17, p. 8.

30 Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17, Attachment 1, p. 20.

31 Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA), Submission 9, p. 4.

32 Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA), Submission 9, p. 4.

33 Mr Harold Scruby, Pedestrian Council of Australia, Committee Hansard, Canberra, 21 July 2020, p.

23.

34 Amy Gillett Foundation, Submission 26, p. 9.

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serious injury to vulnerable road users is considerably reduced at speeds below 30 km/h.35

6.32 According to WALGA, measures to lower speed limits in areas of high-volume use by pedestrians (or other vulnerable groups) are more effective when planned in consultation with the relevant local government and the community.36

6.33 The National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS) Inquiry Report explored the impact of speed on vulnerable road users, and called for vehicle manufacturers and importers to be a part of the speed management solution.37

6.34 The FCAI told the committee that in relation to in-vehicle technology, "vehicle systems are increasingly capable of informing drivers of speed restriction compliance through road sign recognition capabilities".38

6.35 ANCAP submitted that various speed management systems, such as Intelligent speed assistance (ISA) systems (advisory system) should be adopted as Australian industry standard, and Speed Limit Information Function (SLIF) (advisory system) and Speed Control Function (SCF) are already included in ANCAP ratings from 2018.39

Speed enforcement technology 6.36 Many submitters, including the RACV, Austroads and the Royal Australian College of Surgeons (RACS), argued strongly that the adoption of speed enforcement technologies would reduce road trauma - specifically speed-

related crashes - and promote safer roads for all motorists.40

6.37 Similarly, Transurban argued that:

…a focus on automated enforcement for speed through the deployment of average-speed cameras, mobile-phone detection cameras and closed lane enforcement will support safe driving behaviours.41

6.38 SARAH also submitted that the increased use of speed enforcement technology would be an effective means of reducing death and injury - particularly on regional roads. It was argued that:

35 Victoria Walks, Submission 25, pp 4-5.

36 Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA), Submission 9, p. 4.

37 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety

Strategy 2011-2020, Final Report, September 2018, p. 31.

38 Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), Submission 29, [p. 12].

39 Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), Submission 14, p. 7, and Attachment B.

40 Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17; Austroads, Submission 39; Royal

Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS), Submission 51.

41 Transurban, Submission 13, p. 3.

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We must focus on improving outcomes for those who live in regional communities. It requires improved technological enforcement… Indeed, the camera enforcement technology that has just been implemented in New South Wales, with forward-facing cameras for people who are touching their phones, can also absolutely be applied to seatbelt use and speeding right now. If we can change behaviour on those roads because people have an incentive, we will save lives.42

6.39 In addition, SARAH highlighted the need for "complementary community communication strategies to ensure that people recognise that it's their responsibility to look to the road ahead".43

6.40 The RACV advised that it supports both covert and overt speed enforcement because "it reinforces the 'anywhere, anytime' message that drivers can expect their speed to be measured on a regular basis in all locations".44

6.41 The RACV noted, however, that "fines are sometimes viewed as 'revenue raising’ by the public rather than a genuine road safety measure", and this is something that needs to be taken into account by policy-makers.45

6.42 It was argued that education and transparency (in relation to the road safety camera system) would build public confidence. The RACV, for example, suggested a review of demerit points systems, and argued that consideration should be given to decreasing fines for low-level speeding and increasing demerit points, in order to reflect "that speed enforcement is about safety and not revenue raising".46

6.43 Similarly, Dr John Crozier, stressed the importance of educating the public:

So talking in partnership, particularly educational fora; moving the message that speed control is actually a very significant part of a safe system and that enforcement infringement notices, point-to-point or other speed management processes, are not about revenue raising.47

Point to point cameras 6.44 The committee heard that point to point cameras can operate over long lengths of the road network, and therefore can encourage compliance with speed limits across a greater length of the road network. The NRSS Inquiry, for example,

42 Mr Peter Frazer, Safer Australian Roads and Highways, Committee Hansard, Canberra, 20 July 2020,

p. 19.

43 Mr Peter Frazer, Safer Australian Roads and Highways Inc., Committee Hansard, Canberra, 20 July

2020, p. 19.

44 Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17, Attachment 1, p. 14.

45 Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17, Attachment 1, p. 14.

46 Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17, Attachment 1, p. 15.

47 Dr John Crozier, Committee Hansard, Canberra, 20 July 2020, p. 4.

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found that the "under-used Time over Distance or Point to Point approaches have great potential for expanded operations".48

6.45 A number of stakeholders, including SARAH, also agreed with the use of point to point cameras for all vehicles.49 When questioned in relation to the effectiveness of point-to-point speed technology, SARAH proposed that "as part and parcel of Commonwealth funding we should be requiring all new roads or all upgraded roads to have a point-to-point camera system".50

6.46 Similarly, the Australasian Trauma Society (ATS) proposed that infrastructure investment should be linked to discreet KPIs, such as the introduction of point to point cameras. In evidence, ATS stated:

But say you see an area where speed is definitely linked to deaths on black spots and you could easily implement point-to-point speed cameras, and this will have the effect of slowing the traffic down and decreasing the deaths. That's the sort of initiative where if you say to the states, 'If you do this, we'll fund you for this,' and they choose those KPIs, they get the funding for the roads and for doing the job in reducing the incidence of deaths or serious injuries in particular areas.51

6.47 The NSW Government submitted that speed cameras have been proven to make roads safer through improved driver behaviour by reducing speeding and, in turn, the number and severity of crashes. The committee heard that in NSW, speed camera enforcement includes fixed digital speed cameras, red light speed cameras, mobile speed cameras and heavy vehicle average speed cameras.52

6.48 When questioned regarding the reason average speed cameras are not used for the general driving population, the NSW Government stated that:

At the time it was developed specifically in response to an increase in heavy vehicle crashes that were leading to fatalities on key freight routes across regional New South Wales… But that policy setting in New South Wales has been retained and so, at this point, part of that broader suite of

48 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety

Strategy 2011-2020, Final Report, September 2018, p. 60.

49 See, for example, Royal Australian College of Surgeons, Submission 51, p. 3; RACV, Submission 17,

Attachment 1, p. 15; Mr Harold Scruby, Pedestrian Council of Australia, Committee Hansard, Canberra, 21 July 2020, p. 22.

50 Mr Peter Frazer, Safer Australian Roads and Highways Inc., Committee Hansard, Canberra, 20 July

2020, p. 23.

51 Associate Professor Anthony Joseph, Australasian Trauma Society, Committee Hansard, Canberra,

20 July 2020, p. 12.

52 NSW Government, Submission 50, p. 10.

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the speed camera strategy is only being applied for heavy-vehicle enforcement.53

6.49 However, it was acknowledged that, in relation to applying average speed cameras across the general driving population, "any increase in the level of safety treatments across the network is likely to improve road safety".54

6.50 Similarly, representatives from the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) told the committee that the Queensland Government will be increasing the deployment of point to point speed cameras, capturing both light and heavy vehicles. The committee was told that:

We see it as a very highly effective manner in which to address the issue of speeding systemically on the network, and that's borne out in research that we're aware of from experiences in Europe, particularly the UK.55

6.51 Dr Crozier also advised that "point-to-point was part of the agreed start point for the 2011-2020 road strategy", and noted that:

It's an essential element. It's a proven technology. It has cheaper recurrent installation cost. It's greatly appreciated by the countries that have road users who vote or comment on it. It will deliver recurrent proven benefits in an automated same-standard way for all road users.56

6.52 The Western Australian Government advised the committee that its single point-to-point camera had made an impact, and had resulted in reduced speeds and improvements and reductions in crashes.57

Committee view 6.53 Driver distraction, as a road safety issue, deserves to receive increased focus. Throughout the course of the inquiry, the committee noted that the causes of road accidents are varied and can often be attributed to a combination of

factors. Specifically, it was noted that it is difficult for road safety authorities and researchers to accurately measure how a driver is distracted and whether such actions have been the main cause of a crash. A crucial step in reducing accidents due to driver distraction will be to improve public awareness about the risks of these activities undertaken while driving. There is also a need to develop a deeper understanding of crash causation and the role of

53 Mr Bernard Carlon, Centres for Road Safety and Maritime Safety, Transport for NSW, Committee

Hansard, Canberra, 22 July 2020, p. 6.

54 Mr Bernard Carlon, Centres for Road Safety and Maritime Safety, Transport for NSW, Committee

Hansard, Canberra, 22 July 2020, p. 6.

55 Mr Dennis Walsh, Department of Transport and Main Roads, Queensland, Committee Hansard,

Canberra, 22 July 2020, p. 17.

56 Dr John Crozier, Committee Hansard, Canberra, 20 July 2020, p. 6.

57 Mr Iain Cameron, Department of Transport (Western Australia), Committee Hansard, Canberra, 20

August 2020, p. 18.

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distractedness, which could inform tailored road safety responses and treatments - particularly for local and regional roads.

6.54 It is the committee's view that accurate, readily accessible data is fundamental to an evidence-based Safe System approach to road safety. Data is critical to understanding the causes of crashes, developing appropriate countermeasures, and evaluating the effectiveness of road safety initiatives and strategies.

Recommendation 15

6.55 The committee recommends that the Office of Road Safety assist in the facilitation of research to identify the incidence, frequency and type of driver distraction in crash data.

Recommendation 16

6.56 The committee recommends that the Office of Road Safety work with states and territories to expand crash data collection and reporting on the incidence, frequency and type of driver distraction.

6.57 The committee accepts the evidence that achieving different speed regimes is not just a matter of changing the posted speed limit, but also relies on community buy-in.

6.58 The committee is of the view that improvements need to be made to crash data collection, including information on the incidence, frequency and duration of driver distractions. The committee also considers increased community awareness (of the impact using mobile phones while driving has on both driving performance and safety) is necessary.

Recommendation 17

6.59 The committee recommends the Office of Road Safety works with states and territories to fund community awareness campaigns on the impact of driver distractions on road safety.

6.60 The committee is strongly of the view that mobile devices themselves can be utilised more effectively to prevent their use while driving and calls on the government to continue to liaise with the technology manufacturers to enhance the safety mechanisms of their products.

6.61 The committee heard evidence that point-to-point speed cameras are a very effective speed management tool, but they are currently not fully utilised for all vehicles across the country. The committee is of the view that their use should strongly encouraged, and their installation tied to infrastructure funding where appropriate.

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Recommendation 18

6.62 The committee recommends that the Australian Government continue to work with state and territory governments and police agencies to increase the number of point-to-point speed cameras and mobile phone detection cameras.

Technology 6.63 Stakeholders highlighted a number of technologies which can improve road safety. There is technology available which can significantly reduce or eliminate the type of driver errors which increase the likelihood of an accident

occurring, as well as limit the severity of road trauma if an accident occurs. These include a wide variety of driver assistance and safety applications, as well as automated technologies.

6.64 The FCAI, for example noted that:

Automated vehicles have the greatest potential to provide a range of significant safety benefits to the Australian community by reducing and removing human error from the driving task. It is estimated that somewhere between 70 - 80% of accidents can be attributed to human error.58

6.65 Maurice Blackburn also submitted that the introduction of automated vehicles has the potential to completely change the nature of road use in Australia:

Removing human error, fully automated vehicles have the potential to improve road safety, reduce road congestion and benefit those who cannot currently drive cars on the road due to disability.59

6.66 ANCAP, along with the Electric Vehicle Council, outlined a range of new vehicle safety features and technologies which could play a significant role in reducing crashes and resultant injuries. These included lane assist, conditional speed limits, pedestrian avoidance, vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to infrastructure communication, blind spot monitoring and autonomous emergency braking.60

6.67 Similarly, the RACV espoused the benefits of speed management technologies, such as Intelligent Cruise Control and Intelligent Speed Assist, and argued that "such systems can be set to help drivers not exceed the speed limit and adjust speeds when another vehicle is detected ahead".61

Educating drivers about road safety technology

58 Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, Submission 29, [p. 3].

59 Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, Submission 22, p. 2.

60 Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), Submission 14; Electric Vehicle Council,

Submission 23.

61 Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17, Attachment 1, p. 20.

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6.68 The committee received evidence from a number of stakeholders about the need for drivers to be educated about the benefits of road safety features, as well as how to use the technology designed to achieve these benefits.

6.69 The Electric Vehicle Council, for example, argued that educating consumers about the developments in vehicle technology is necessary, and would allow them to make informed decisions when purchasing vehicles. It was submitted that:

Given that approximately 90% of crashes involve some form of human error, education on the driving and safety benefits of electrification and automation is necessary to advance road safety and driving behaviour.62

6.70 The RACV argued that limited awareness, rather than affordability, was impeding the update of newer vehicles, and the incorporation of driver assist technologies. It recommended measures to incentivise specific high-risk groups:

Younger and novice drivers who are over-represented in the crash statistics also tend to be those with less to spend on a vehicle. Used Car Safety Ratings, with its emphasis on rating older vehicles, is of particular benefit to individuals looking to purchase a safe vehicle on a budget. RACV would strongly support activities that promote this aspect of the ratings.63

6.71 The Motorcycle Council of NSW argued that the benefits of braking technologies need to be realised, and that "educational campaigns to educate riders about the use of ABS are urgently needed".64

6.72 ANCAP advised that it is working with member organisations - including the Australian Government - to promote the uptake of new automated vehicle safety technology. It noted that:

Through rewarding vehicle brands and educating consumers, ANCAP is able to encourage the early adoption of new safety systems that exceed any minimum regulatory standard.65

6.73 In line with the recommendations of the NRSS Inquiry Report, submitters called for coordination of activities across key industry stakeholders, including manufacturers, importers and telecommunication bodies.66

Committee view

62 Electric Vehicle Council, Submission 23, p. 2.

63 Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17, Attachment 1, p. 23..

64 Motorcycle Council of NSW, Submission 16, p. 4.

65 Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), Submission 14, p. 1.

66 The George Institute for Global Health, Submission 40, [p. 2].

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6.74 There are a many potential road safety improvements available through advances in technology. However, these improvements will not be fully realised without education and promotion of these benefits.

6.75 The committee is of the view that the body of evidence in this area will only increase, allowing future policy decisions to be firmly grounded in evidence. The committee supports the development of a comprehensive understanding of vehicle technologies and associated benefits and to develop appropriate measures to promote increased uptake.

Recommendation 19

6.76 That committee recommends the Office of Road Safety liaise with the Transport and Infrastructure Council with a view to conducting further research into the potential benefits to be gained from various emerging driver assistance technologies.

Driver education and training 6.77 The committee heard that driver education is a central component of the Safe System approach. Many submissions commented on the content of current learner driver programs and how they might be improved.

6.78 For example, the RACV emphasised the importance of ensuring that driver training and young driver education programs are evidence-based and well evaluated. It proposed a number of alternatives to conventional driver training and education, such as increased supervised driving, graduated licensing and on-road driving experience, as effective ways to develop higher-order cognitive skills related to driving, especially for novice drivers.67

6.79 The Victorian Motorcycle Council indicated its support for Victoria's graduate licensing scheme. It was noted that "the anecdotal feedback is that it is successful in preparing riders for road riding".68 It also expressed the view that riders licensed under the previous approach would benefit from experiencing the revised program. It was argued that:

Some kind of overt encouragement for riders to update their skills would therefore be beneficial and the existing rider training infrastructure would be available to take advantage of such programs.69

6.80 A number of stakeholders questioned whether current driver education arrangements were satisfactory, and commented on opportunities for the implementation and improvement of road safety training programs for road users. The Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF) noted, for example, that

67 Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17, Attachment 1, pp 32-33.

68 Victorian Motorcycle Council, Submission 30, p. 12.

69 Victorian Motorcycle Council, Submission 30, p. 12.

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"obtaining a license is recognized as the minimal level of competency", and there is "no incentive to undertake additional learning".70

6.81 However, other stakeholders reflected on whether the value of professional driver training is overstated, noting that it may encourage overconfidence, particularly in young drivers.71

Community-led road safety campaigns 6.82 The committee heard that as part of its 2021 Road Safety Plan, the NSW Government undertook an independent review of advertising programs to ensure that they are supporting the sorts of behaviours and outcomes that lead

to people reducing their risk on the road. The review demonstrated that:

…informational, supportive and positive messaging of campaigns… has been very successful in supporting the full suite of behaviours around reducing alcohol-related crashes.72

6.83 The committee was also advised that the length of a campaign also had bearing on its effectiveness, because "longer term campaigns of strategies which evolve over time have actually been very successful".73

6.84 Locally developed campaigns were also promoted as a method for increasing community buy-in. For example, Road Trauma Support Services Victoria (RTSSV) explained that testimony from local road trauma survivors can increase community buy-in for new road safety measures and shift behaviours and attitudes.74 Survivor stories form a central component of RTSSV’s restorative justice programs, and the committee understands that the University of Melbourne is currently undertaking an evaluation of RTSSV’s volunteer program.75

6.85 The committee heard that the low rate of licence participation in Indigenous communities contributes to a cycle of increased contact with the justice system. The availability of targeted programs, which work to divert Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people away from punitive prosecution and enforcement, and toward education and licensing, was raised by RTSSV. Licensing was described as a 'big issue' in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and the committee was told that:

70 Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF), Submission 7, p. 4.

71 Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Submission 17, Attachment 1, p. 32.

72 Mr Bernard Carlon, Centres for Road Safety and Maritime Safety, Transport for NSW, Committee

Hansard, 22 July 2020, p. 3.

73 Mr Bernard Carlon, Centres for Road Safety and Maritime Safety, Transport for NSW, Committee

Hansard, 22 July 2020, p. 3.

74 Road Trauma Support Services Victoria (RTSSV), Submission 24, pp 3-5.

75 Road Trauma Support Services Victoria (RTSSV), Submission 24, p. 6.

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In rural and remote areas where licensing is quite difficult…It's hard to go through that rite of passage, which is getting your driver's licence and becoming independent. We know driving is very much about independence, particularly in rural, remote, outer regional and outer suburban areas.76

6.86 While acknowledging the importance of licensing programs, RTSSV described how support programs and community leadership - particularly in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities - are vital to improving road trauma for vulnerable users:

Having these types of support programs to make sure that everyone is on a level playing field is a really important way of reducing inequity in this area… People access programs that they feel comfortable with and that's generally if they're run by the local community. That's really important.77

Road sharing 6.87 The Amy Gillet Foundation urged active revision regarding the way that learner drivers are taught and assessed about sharing the road with cyclists and heavy vehicles. Specifically, the Foundation promoted the need to increase

awareness and improve attitudes towards vulnerable road users.78

6.88 The Amy Gillet Foundation cited a study of cyclist-related content in the driver licensing process, which found that it contains very little which teaches new drivers about sharing the road safely. The group called for additional content to be included in the driver training process - particularly in relation to sharing the road with vulnerable road users.79

6.89 The addition of vulnerable road user awareness training as part of the national heavy vehicle driver licensing process, was also recommended by the Amy Gillet Foundation. It highlighted Cycle Aware (a research project) and Sharing Roads Safely (a training program for heavy vehicle drivers) as two initiatives that have realised significant reductions in road incidents. It was explained that Sharing Roads Safely is already having a positive impact of drivers’ awareness, behaviour and attitudes towards vulnerable road users.80

Heavy vehicle awareness

76 Professor Rebecca Ivers, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New

South Wales, Committee Hansard, 21 July 2020, p. 16.

77 Professor Rebecca Ivers, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New

South Wales, Committee Hansard, 21 July 2020, pp 16-17.

78 Amy Gillett Foundation, Submission 26, p. 15.

79 Amy Gillett Foundation, Submission 26, p. 15.

80 Amy Gillett Foundation, Submission 26, p. 16.

111

6.90 The ARRB provided statistics which indicate that heavy trucks were involved in 14.7 per cent of fatalities in 2016, despite making up just 3.13 per cent of registered vehicles and 7.2 per cent of vehicle kilometres travelled.81

6.91 The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) highlighted research undertaken by National Transport Insurance, which found that 83 per cent of the fatal multi-vehicle crashes (involving trucks in its insured fleet) are not the fault of the truck driver. Despite these figures, the ATA informed the committee that heavy vehicle awareness is a significant gap in driver training.82

6.92 NatRoad proposed a number of initiatives directed at improving light vehicle behaviour around heavy vehicles. These included the preparation of state and territory guidance material about sharing the road with heavy vehicles and school-based driver education. NatRoad called for education about how to share the road safely with heavy vehicles to be made a funding priority for governments, particularly when young drivers first apply for a licence.83

6.93 NatRoad further advised that "obtaining consistency in messaging and conducting a suitable education programme would best sit with the newly created Office of Road Safety".84 The role of the Office of Road Safety (ORS) was considered in Chapter 2.

6.94 The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) noted its support for a competency-based approach to heavy vehicle licensing, rather than a 'time served' approach. It was submitted that, in relation to the National Heavy Vehicle Driver Competency Framework (NHVDCF) scheme, the units of competency should include a greater focus on non-technical driving skills, which are key elements of safe heavy vehicle operations. It was argued that this could include driver fatigue and distraction management.85

First aid education 6.95 The issue of First Aid was discussed at various points during the inquiry, specifically in relation to increasing road users' awareness of what to do in the event of road trauma.

6.96 St John Ambulance Australia urged the committee to consider recommending that basic first aid awareness training be included as part of the licensing process for all road users. They cited the following statistics, as well as multiple sources for evidence on harm minimisation, and the value of pre-hospital care for crash victims:

81 Australian Road Research Board (ARRB), Submission 32, p. 15.

82 Australian Trucking Association (ATA), Submission 1, p. 7.

83 NatRoad, Submission 15, p. 3.

84 Australian Road Research Board (ARRB), Submission 32, p. 15.

85 National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), Submission 37, p. 4.

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 the time that 90 per cent of ambulances take to arrive at emergency incidents ranges from 12.1 to 20.8 minutes;  the first three to five minutes following a road traffic collision are considered crucial and, in this time, there are a series of time-sensitive

actions that are essential to preserving life;  it takes only four minutes for a person injured in a road traffic collision to die from hypoxia (a blocked airway); and  it is estimated that up to 85 per cent of preventable, pre-hospital deaths

(resulting from a road traffic collision) may be due to hypoxia.86

6.97 St John Ambulance Australia explained that it already runs two online training courses - Click to save and First@scene - which are designed to equip bystanders with the skills to deliver lifesaving first aid to victims of a road traffic collision:

These short courses directly target the first aid knowledge and skills for the types of injuries common to road traffic collisions. The aim is for bystanders to have the knowledge and skills to provide immediate treatment until advanced care arrives. These courses take around 30 minutes to complete and prepare participants to respond at a road traffic collision.87

6.98 The committee was advised that St John Ambulance Australia already deliver online courses in Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Further, it was noted that basic first aid training is something incorporated into Norway's licensing system.88

6.99 It is noted that the Senate Rural Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee previously considered St John Ambulance Australia’s proposal to integrate first aid awareness into the current driver licensing system.89 In 2016, the committee recommended that Austroads work with state and territory driver licensing authorities to introduce compulsory first aid training as a condition of receiving a learner's permit or renewing a driver's licence.90 The government noted the recommendation in its June 2020, but argued that there was "a lack of evidence that basic first aid would reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries".91

86 St John Ambulance Australia, Submission 8, p. 7.

87 St John Ambulance Australia, Submission 8, p. 3.

88 Mr Len Fiori, St John Ambulance Australia, Committee Hansard, 17 August 2020, p. 22.

89 Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee, Aspects of road safety in Australia:

Interim Report, May 2016, pp 50-51.

90 Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee, Aspects of road safety in Australia:

Interim Report, May 2016, pp 51.

91 Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee, Aspects of road safety in Australia:

Interim Report, Government Response, June 2020, p. 8.

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6.100 This contrasts with some committee members' views, that are based on the evidence provided by St John Ambulance Australia during this inquiry.

Support for disadvantaged drivers 6.101 The committee was told that there are a number of vulnerable groups, including those from economically, cultural or geographically disadvantaged groups. For these groups, access to services and resources can be difficult, and

have an impact on driver training and education. Factors cited as problematic include a shortage of licensed drivers able to act as supervisory drivers, lower rates of car ownership, the high cost of petrol in remote areas and the high cost of professional driving lessons.92

6.102 The committee was advised that the Queensland Government funds activities which assist disadvantaged learner drivers to obtain and retain a driver's licence. TMR advised that it has developed a volunteer driver mentor program to support learner drivers who do not have access to a supervisor (or a registered vehicle) to complete their logbook hours.93 It was noted that the program:

…funds the learner's permit for identified at-risk youth and then puts them through a program where they will get a portion of their learner driver hours from a formal driving instructor from a driver training school.94

6.103 The Australian Motorcycle Council told the committee that measures to promote advanced skills training for riders - such as subsidies - would provide "a good return on investment by government" by enhancing safety and reducing crashes.95

6.104 The Victorian Motorcycle Council expressed concern about the cost of the Victorian motorcycle graduate licensing scheme. Noting that the scheme is expensive, the Council told the committee that "it is feared that this may directly increase the likelihood of unlicensed riding".96 To overcome this problem, it was proposed that subsidised advanced motorcycle rider training programs could be offered to riders: to update skills and, in turn, reduce the number of crashes.97

92 Australasian College of Road Safety (ACRS), Submission 7, p. 9.

93 Assistant Commissioner Ben Marcus, Queensland Police Service, Committee Hansard, 22 July 2020,

p. 20.

94 Assistant Commissioner Ben Marcus, Queensland Police Service, Committee Hansard, 22 July 2020,

p. 20.

95 Australian Motorcycle Council, Submission 11, p. 2.

96 Victorian Motorcycle Council, Submission 30, pp 12-13.

97 Victorian Motorcycle Council, Submission 30, pp 12-13.

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6.105 IAG also encouraged states and territories to work together to share education and road safety campaign information, to align messaging and use resources efficiently to tackle the most urgent aspects of safety on the road.98

Committee view 6.106 Driver education is vitally important: whether it be during the initial licensing stage, to promote ongoing development, to further driver/rider awareness of all other road users or to attain specific skills such as basic first aid. It is also an

area that requires continued vigilance, and something that should be a priority for all levels of government.

6.107 Driver training is often viewed as a matter for inexperienced or novice drivers. However, evidence provided to the committee indicates that experienced drivers would also benefit from further training throughout their driving lives. This is particularly relevant for motorcyclists.

6.108 Education programs and campaigns are a crucial element of road safety, and have the potential to dramatically effect cultural change in driving behaviour. The development of these programs require ongoing investment by all stakeholders, and the committee urges the government to work with states and territories to ensure that programs are relevant, and targeted to reduce road trauma.

Recommendation 20

6.109 The committee recommends that the Australian Government support future driver education campaigns with an emphasis on the development and demonstration of safe driving attitudes that address the following topics:

 road sharing and pedestrian, motorcycle, bicycle and heavy vehicle awareness;  safe driving in different environments, with an emphasis on regional and rural roads; and  the dangers of distracted driving and the need to remain alert to the

driving task.

6.110 The committee received evidence that removing and reducing barriers to allow disadvantaged groups to access appropriate driver training and education would have a positive impact on road safety, particularly in rural and regional areas. While licensing is a matter for each individual state and territory, the committee urges the Australian Government to consider ways it can support programs which assist disadvantaged and vulnerable groups to access initial and continuing driver education, and awareness training.

98 Insurance Australia Group (IAG), Submission 34, p. 7.

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Recommendation 21

6.111 The Committee recommends that Australian Government review funding for programs that reduce barriers to disadvantaged groups obtaining and retaining driver licences.

6.112 On the basis of the evidence before it, the committee supports online or in-person first aid training, not only for learner drivers, but also for drivers seeking to renew their licence. The committee notes that in responding to a similar recommendation - made by the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee in 2016 - the Australian Government relayed the concern of state and territory road agencies regarding a perceived additional burden on learners.99 However, the committee is of the view that the potential benefits of the proposed 30-minute online training course, significantly outweigh the minimal burden placed on drivers.

Recommendation 22

6.113 The committee recommends that the Australian Government work with state and territory governments to introduce compulsory first aid training as a condition of receiving a learner's permit or renewing a driver’s licence.

99 Australian Government, Australian Government response to the Rural and Regional Affairs and

Transport References Committee Final and Interim Reports on: Aspects of road safety in Australia, June 2020, p. 8.

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Chapter 7

National Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030

2011-2020 National Road Safety Strategy Inquiry 7.1 As noted in Chapter 1, the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020 (2011-2020 NRSS) which is due to expire at the end of 2020, was the subject of a recent review (the NRSS Inquiry), co-chaired by Dr Crozier and Professor Woolley.

The results of the review were provided to the Australian Government in September 2018.

7.2 The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (the Department) cited the NRSS Inquiry Report, which acknowledged that the NRSS (and the supporting Action Plan for 2018-2020) do prioritise effective approaches and that "many safety solutions are known and some are in place to some degree, while others sit on the shelf, often due to a lack of capacity and resources".1 The Department also noted that a key finding of the review was that "a lack of accountability, oversight and national leadership contributed to poor implementation and ineffective road safety action".2

7.3 In evidence provided to the committee, key stakeholders also drew heavily on the issues raised during the Inquiry into the 2011-2020 NRSS, its findings and its recommendations. Submitters expressed support for the inquiry, which focused on the need for dramatic changes to road safety management and the recommendations, which were aimed toward addressing road trauma in Australia and transforming Australia's road safety performance.3

7.4 The Australasian College of Road Safety (ACRS), for example, noted that it had endorsed the NRSS Inquiry Report when it was published in 2018, and argued that for the extremely limited resourcing that was made available, the Inquiry Report "delivered a remarkably cohesive and compelling, necessarily high-level, analysis of the national state of road safety in Australia".4

1 Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley and Doctor John Crozier, Inquiry into the National Road Safety

Strategy 2011-2020, Final Report, September 2018, cited in Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, Submission 38, p. 1.

2 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, Submission

38, p. 1.

3 See, for example, Transurban Limited, Submission 13; Australian Road Safety Foundation,

Submission 7; International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP), Submission 52; The George Institute for Global Health, Australia, Submission 40; Insurance Australia Group (IAG), Submission 34, p. 3; Safer Australian Roads and Highways (SARAH), Submission 33, p. 4.

4 Australasian College of Road Safety (ACRS), Submission 42, p. 4.

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7.5 Many of the stakeholders who provided evidence to the committee's inquiry had also provided submissions to the NRSS Inquiry. They are, therefore, invested in the development of the new NRSS, which will dictate road safety policy for the coming decade.

7.6 The new NRSS is seen by many as an important opportunity to build on the positive national and international outcomes in relation to speed management, rural and regional road safety, intelligent transport systems, smart motorways as well as connected and automated vehicle fleets.

Implementation of findings 7.7 Stakeholders stressed the importance of taking the findings of the NRSS Inquiry into account, and using them as the basis of the new NRSS. Stakeholders argued for the inclusion of measures to ensure strong leadership,

clear and appropriate performance measures and targets, a clear implementation strategy, accountability mechanisms and measurable targets.

7.8 In its submission, the International Road Assessment Program (iRAP), outlined the organisation's views regarding the strategies, performance measures and targets which should be included in the next NRSS. It was submitted that, first and foremost, the new strategy must implement - in full - the 12 recommendations (and associated actions) outlined in the review. It was also argued that the new strategy should also take into account the many submissions that have been provided, and the consultations that have taken place, over recent years.5

7.9 It was noted that the core elements - Road Safety Management, Safe Speeds, Safe Roads, Safe Vehicles, Safe Road Users and Improved Post Crash Care - are globally accepted. It was argued that aligning with this proven structure is essential, particularly as it would also align with state-level strategies, and provide opportunities to employ global best practice.6

7.10 The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) also noted its support for the NRSS Inquiry, describing both the NRSS Inquiry and the subsequent Governance Review as "comprehensive bodies of work, which forensically addressed where existing road safety strategies have failed and identified opportunities for improvement".7

7.11 The AAA indicated that it supports the recommendations of the NRSS Inquiry. However, the Association expressed disappointment with the Government's response to both the Inquiry's recommendations and the findings of the recent Governance Review. The AAA noted that in November 2019, the Transport

5 International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP), Submission 52, [p. 23].

6 International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP), Submission 52, [p. 23].

7 Australian Automobile Association (AAA), Submission 27, p. 6.

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Infrastructure Council (TIC) had reported that the 12 recommendations were either 'agreed' or 'agreed in principle'. It was submitted, however, that in the absence of substantiating detail, or explanation from the Government, the AAA could not agree with the characterisation of many of these recommendations as having been 'accepted'.8

7.12 The AAA indicated that it was also waiting to see how the Commonwealth intends to address to the findings of the Governance Review—which it noted were provided to the Australian Government in June 2019. The AAA observed that many of the Governance Review's findings related directly to this inquiry's terms of reference—covering topics such as road infrastructure funding, road safety data, integration of Safe System principles, coordination and influence within Government and performance objectives.9

Office of Road Safety 7.13 It has been agreed by the Transport and Infrastructure Council (TIC) that the Office of Road Safety (ORS) will be the lead agency in relation to the next NRSS. The committee was told that the ORS has been working with state and

territory and local governments to identify the key directions for the strategy for the next ten years. The ORS is also working on an Action Plan which will specifically guide the first years of the new strategy.10

7.14 The ORS has been working with a large range of stakeholders and advised that, to date, it has invited more than 50 stakeholders to contribute to the new NRSS. In evidence, Assistant Secretary, Ms O'Neill told the committee that:

We've gone broader than has previously been done to make sure that we're including health, education and Indigenous bodies and people involved in injury prevention as well as those that can support a cultural change across the country to lift the profile of road safety.11

7.15 The NRSS Inquiry Report pointed to fact that most of the commitments outlined in the 2011-2020 Strategy had not been met. The ORS has been charged with analysing the reasons behind this ensuring that the 'implementation failure' does not continue.12

8 Australian Automobile Association (AAA), Submission 27, p. 6.

9 Australian Automobile Association (AAA), Submission 27, p. 6.

10 This section of the report is based on information contained in Department of Infrastructure,

Transport, Regional Development and Communications, Submission 38, pp 8-9 and Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (including the Office of Road Safety), Committee Hansard, 20 August 2020, pp 23-29.

11 Ms Gabby O'Neill, Office of Road Safety, Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional

Development and Communications, Committee Hansard, 20 August 2020, p. 23.

12 Ms Gabby O'Neill, Office of Road Safety, Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional

Development and Communications, Committee Hansard, 20 August 2020, p. 25.

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7.16 In addition to taking on board the conclusions and recommendations contained in the NRSS Inquiry Report, the ORS has undertaken its own consultation process. Representatives from ORS told the committee:

One of the key messages that we heard is that what we were trying to achieve, or what governments were looking to achieve, as probably a mile wide and about an inch deep. The report said that what you need to do is look at the areas that you need to prioritise and focus on. You really need to put your time and effort into those. It said that you probably need about a dozen priority areas.13

7.17 Based on the recommendation that the ORS focus on identifying a few discrete priorities and investigating them thoroughly, it has identified 11 key priorities on which it has been consulting. These are:

 regional areas;  remote areas;  planning and investment (and related mechanisms);  vehicle safety;  heavy vehicles;  high-risk behaviour;  enforcement;  vulnerable road users;  motorcyclists;  improved post-crash care; and  workplace related road trauma.14

7.18 The Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia (RACWA) acknowledged that the ORS would take the lead role in developing the new NRSS. It was argued, however, that ORS should develop the new NRSS in consultation with "a bipartisan Parliamentary Reference Group or the proposed Standing Committee (with all sides of government and representative agencies being signatories to the Strategy)" and involvement of the states and territories.15

7.19 The AAA expressed concern that, to date, there had been very little transparency around the development of the new NRSS. Further, it was submitted that the Commonwealth and state and territory governments had so far been developing the new NRSS "away from public view and away from input from organisations with a dedicated interest in road safety - including motoring, health, emergency and infrastructure bodies". The AAA argued, therefore, that has been difficult for stakeholder groups to contribute to

13 Ms Jessica Hall, Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and

Communications, Committee Hansard, 20 August 2020, p. 25.

14 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, Submission

38, p. 9.

15 Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia (RACWA), Submission 31, p. 8.

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conversations about appropriate targets or performance measures. Further, it was suggested that if:

… industry and stakeholders are to contribute in a meaningful way to furthering road safety in Australia, they need to be engaged in the development of the next Strategy from an early stage.16

Leadership 7.20 Stakeholders stressed the importance of having clear guidelines in relation to which sectors should take responsibility for specific actions and which sector should take on the leadership for specific functions. It was suggested by iRAP,

for example, that the Federal Government should take the lead on:

 owning the NRSS and accountabilities;  owning KPI reporting through national road safety observatory functions and harmonised data reporting and incentivising data collection and reporting from other relevant stakeholders;

 supporting safe system national coordination through ANCAP, AusRAP, National Road Rules and Trauma Registry hubs/functions;  leading on vehicle standards and vehicle import requirements and the accelerated uptake of new technologies;  providing enabling funds (Recommendation 3 - the $3 billion a year road

safety fund) for National Highway 5-star investments and for local government to bring roads to 3-star or better standards. This can be targeted using the annual Risk Maps and Star Rating benchmarks every three to five years as mandated in Europe; and  supporting initiatives for research, capacity development/efficiency delivery

mechanisms for local government in particular, innovation and key enablers.17

Accountability 7.21 Stakeholders such as iRAP stressed that within the road safety management action area, it is essential that the new strategy is very clear on accountabilities. It was noted that as a special advisor to the NRSS Inquiry, iRAP recommended

a national governance review, with a view to achieving a clear outline of where the Commonwealth should lead, and "where the established expertise and ownership of actions at a State, local and non-government area are clearly articulated and understood".18

16 Australian Automobile Association (AAA), Submission 27, p. 5.

17 International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP), Submission 52, [p. 23].

18 International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP), Submission 52, [p. 23].

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7.22 It was argued that, importantly, the new NRSS should recognise the state-level leadership and strategies in their areas of clear accountability, rather than try to duplicate or cross-over those issues, adding that:

The well-set, ambitious, optimised and resourced work to achieve the key performance indicators will provide the ultimate coordinating function for national action and accountability.19

7.23 As noted in Chapter 2, several stakeholder groups made clear recommendations regarding the need for conditions to be placed around the provision of Commonwealth funding. Some stakeholders also raised the possibility of safety star ratings being used as a condition, while others suggested that failure to deliver against agreed NRSS targets should be used as a financial lever - particularly in relation to funding for states and territories.

Targets 7.24 The importance of setting targets for the next NRRS was stressed by a number of stakeholders.

7.25 The AAA argued, for example, that in order for targets to be effective, they need to be underpinned by deliverable actions that will have a measurable impact on reducing road deaths and serious injuries. The AAA also submitted that actions "must have stated timeframes in which they will be achieved, and where actions are deemed completed, an evaluation of their impact needs to be undertaken".20

7.26 Transurban Limited - an Australian-owned company that builds and operates toll roads in Australia and the United States - argued that the

recommendations put forward by the NRSS Inquiry Report are key to developing performance measures and targets for 2021-2030. Specifically, it argued that:

Establishing targets for increased fleet safety in all modes of motorised transport from motorcycles to passenger vehicles, trucks and heavy vehicles will be critical to ensuring that zero can be achieved with the next decades as modelled by road safety and transport academics and our road authorities.21

7.27 The Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) advised that it is managing an Austroads project that will initially identify baseline road trauma trends, to inform the development of targets for the new NRSS. The second element to this project, if it is progressed, will project impacts of countermeasures on the baseline. In addition to representatives from the ORS, the panel guiding the project includes representatives from Queensland,

19 International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP), Submission 52, [p. 25].

20 Australian Automobile Association (AAA), Submission 27, p. 5.

21 Transurban Limited Submission 13, p. 3.

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Victoria and New South Wales. TMR noted that this work "will support the development of an appropriately aspirational and targeted strategy that will support and value-add to the extensive work already being led by states and territories".22

Key Performance Indicators 7.28 Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) stressed the importance of a body or an organisation taking day-to-day responsibility for checking the targets and determining whether they are being met. The body would also be

responsible for overseeing the strategy and confirming that the strategies that are being used in the programs being rolled out are being done effectively, and are evidence based, so that it is clear they are going to work. In terms of using KPIs as a way of monitoring strategies, NeuRA told the committee that:

KPIs are an important part of it, but one of the things we've learned from the current National Road safety strategy is that simply setting KPIs alone, without an underlying plan of action and targets that look at the rollout of the plan of action and the activities, is ineffective. So simply setting a road toll KPI is not sufficient; it needs to be underpinned with KPIs, if you wish to set them, on the actual activities that need to be done to ensure that.23

Stakeholder engagement 7.29 Stakeholders submitted that one of the keys to achieving improvement (based on the next NRSS) will be a "determined and gradual effort to achieve all aspects of the Safe System Strategy and maintain the momentum once

preliminary success is achieved".24

7.30 It was also argued that in addition to its leadership role, if the ORS is going to achieve much needed improvement in road safety, it will need to focus on stakeholder engagement. Specifically, stakeholders stressed that in the process of developing a new NRSS, the ORS should also be building productive working relationships with states and territories, industry and other stakeholder groups. Consultation and cooperation across the sector, it was argued, will result in an NRSS that can be widely supported.

7.31 TMR noted, for example, that each state and territory government publishes its own road safety strategy and action plans. It was argued that the new NRSS should support state and territory plans by focusing on:

 the actions that are supported by evidence as having the most impact on serious trauma reduction; and

22 Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Submission 47, p. 6.

23 Professor Lynne Bilston, Neuroscience Research Australia, Committee Hansard, 20 July 2020, p. 15.

24 Australasian Trauma Society (ATS), Submission 10, p. 4.

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 those which would benefit from national leadership to achieve the most improvement (through Commonwealth action alone or national harmonisation).25

Specific issues 7.32 Stakeholder groups stressed the need for the new NRSS to meet the needs of all road users. A number of stakeholders also argued that it is vital that the new strategy contain measures to address specific issues such as speed

management and protection for vulnerable road users.

Vulnerable road users 7.33 Stakeholders pointed to those who are viewed as particularly vulnerable in Australia's transport network. It was stressed that road safety strategies need to address the specific issues that impact motorcyclists, pedestrians, cyclists,

older Australians, younger drivers, regional communities and those with disabilities. Submitters argued that more vulnerable community members and road users also deserve our attention and our protection.26

7.34 While some stakeholders questioned whether the Safe System approach outlined in the NRSS actually meets the needs of all road users, groups such as the Motorcycle Council of New South Wales and the Pedestrian Council of Australia (PCA) expressed concern that the strategy fails to engage with the specific needs of vulnerable users and pedestrians.27

7.35 The issues around vulnerable road users are discussed in more detail in Chapter 5.

Speed management 7.36 The importance of making automated enforcement a part of speed management was stressed by a number of submitters, and it was argued that a key focus of the new NRSS should include the deployment of average-speed

cameras, mobile phone detection cameras and closed lane enforcement, which already have support from the community.28

7.37 Having clear statements which support action on speed in the NRSS was seen as a priority for TMR. It was argued that targeted speed reductions - where risk is greatest and road safety benefits may be realised - provides a real opportunity to reduce serious road trauma. Specifically, TMR would like to

25 Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Submission 47, p. 6.

26 See for example, Australian Motorcycle Council, Submission 11; Victoria Walks, Submission 25; The

Amy Gillett Foundation, Submission 26; Pedestrian Council of Australia (PCA), Submission 49.

27 Australian Motorcycle Council, Submission 11; Pedestrian Council of Australia (PCA), Submission

49.

28 See, for example, Transurban Limited Submission 13, p. 3.

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achieve improvements in 'serious injury' and 'vulnerable road user' crashes in urban areas and all 'serious crashes' in regional and remote areas.29

7.38 The RACWA noted the NRSS Inquiry recommendation that the next strategy "accelerate the adoption of speed management initiatives that help eliminate harm". It also pointed to a recent Austroads report which argued that there has been call for leadership at the national level around the harmonisation of appropriate speed limits. The RACWA recommended that the next NRSS 'specific and measurable actions to reduce the impact of speed on crash outcomes in our country.30

7.39 The issues around speed management are discussed in more detail in Chapter 6.

Committee comment 7.40 The committee notes the recommendations made in the NRSS Inquiry Report regarding the need for road safety to become a genuine, integrated part of 'business as usual' in all levels of government. In evidence to the committee

stakeholders have, overwhelmingly indicated support for these recommendations and stressed the importance of incorporating road safety across government.

7.41 The committee notes that in November 2019, the TIC committed to the framework for the next NRSS, and agreed that the aim of the strategy should be to position Australia to achieve the Vision Zero target by 2050. It has also been agreed that the new strategy - which will set national reduction targets for road crash deaths and serious injuries - will be framed around three central themes: Safe Roads, Safe Vehicles and Safe Road Use. The focus for 'Safe Road Use' will be on improving the safety of all road users, including those identified as 'vulnerable' such as cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians.

7.42 The current focus of the Office for Road Safety on delivering lifesaving road safety treatments through a $2 billion Road Safety program, and the investment in a National Road Safety Data Hub, are significant signs that Australia is undertaking a real step change in improving road safety.

7.43 The committee commends all of the work that has gone into the next NRSS by all governments and stakeholders who have contributed the process. The committee urges the Australian government to adopt and implement the recommendations in this report, and the findings of the NRSS Inquiry in the next NRSS.

29 Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Submission 47, p. 6.

30 Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia (RACWA), Submission 31, p. 11.

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Mr Pat Conaghan MP Chair

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Appendix 1 Submissions

1 Australian Trucking Association 2 Mr Geoffrey Harding 3 Mr Brian Dunn 4 Mr Michael Norris 5 Dr Michael White 6 P7 Road Safety System 7 Australian Road Safety Foundation 8 St John Ambulance Australia 9 Western Australian Local Government Association 10 Australasian Trauma Society 11 Australian Motorcycle Council 12 Streets Alive Yarra 13 Transurban 14 The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP SAFETY) 15 NatRoad 16 Motorcycle Council of NSW 17 Royal Automobile Club of Victoria

 Attachment 1

18 Kidsafe Australia 19 Northern Territory Department of Infrastructure 20 3M Australia 21 Slater and Gordon Lawyers 22 Maurice Blackburn Lawyers 23 Electric Vehicle Council 24 Road Trauma Support Services Victoria 25 Victoria Walks 26 Amy Gillett Foundation 27 Australian Automobile Association

 27.1 Supplementary to submission 27  Attachment 1  Attachment 2  Attachment 3

28 Mr Lachlan McIntosh 29 Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries 30 Victorian Motorcycle Council 31 RAC

32 ARRB

33 Safer Australian Roads and Highways (SARAH)

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34 IAG

35 Occupational Therapy Australia 36 Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council 37 National Heavy Vehicle Regulator 38 Department of Infrastructure

 Attachment 1

39 Austroads 40 The George Institute for Global Health 41 Australian Local Government Association 42 Australasian College of Road Safety 43 Alcohol and Drug Foundation 44 Government of Western Australia - Department of Transport 45 Mr Peter Carruth 46 Mr Neil McGuinness 47 Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads

 Attachment 1  Attachment 2  Attachment 3

48 Department of Transport Victoria 49 Pedestrian Council of Australia 50 Transport for NSW 51 Royal Australasian College of Surgeons 52 International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) 53 Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia 54 Stabilcorp Ptd Ltd 55 Mr Mark Arena

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Appendix 2 Public hearings

Monday, 20 July 2020 Canberra

Dr John Crozier, Private capacity

Associate Professor Jeremy Woolley, Private capacity

Australasian Trauma Society  Professor Anthony Joseph

Transurban Safety Centre  Professor Lynne Bilston

Safer Australian Roads and Highways (SARAH)  Mr Peter Frazer

Australian Road Research Board  Mr David McTiernan  Ms Tia Gaffney

Austroads  Dr Geoff Allan  Mr David Bobberman

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Tuesday, 21 July 2020 Canberra

Insurance Australia Group  Ms Cecelia Warren

3M Australia  Mr Andrew King  Mr Kosta Karagiannopoulos

Electric Vehicle Council  Mr Behyad Jafari  Ms Alex Kelly

The George Institute for Global Health  Associate Professor Julie Brown  Dr Kate Hunter  Professor Rebecca Ivers

Pedestrian Council of Australia  Mr Harold Scruby

Australian Road Safety Foundation  Mr Russel White

International Road Assessment Programme  Mr Rob McInerney

National Heavy Vehicle Regulator  Mr Sal Petroccitto

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Wednesday, 22 July 2020 Canberra

Transport for NSW  Mr Bernard Carlon

NSW Ambulance  Ms Clare Beech  Mr Peter Payne

Australian Motorcycle Council

Motorcycle Council of NSW  Mr Brian Wood  Mr Jason Anthony

Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads  Mr Andrew Mahon  Ms Joanna Robinson  Mr Dennis Walsh

Queensland Police Service  Assistant Commissioner Ben Marcus

Australian Automobile Association  Mr Craig Newland  Mr Michael Bradley

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Monday, 17 August 2020 Canberra

The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP SAFETY)  Mr James Hurnall  Mr Mark Terrel

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries  Mr Rob Langridge

Australian Trucking Association  Mr Bill McKinley

NatRoad  Mr Richard Calver

Australasian College of Road Safety  Mr Martin Small

St John Ambulance Australia  Mr Len Fiori  Ms Belinda Ding  Mr Stephan van Gerwen

P7 Road Safety System  Mr Brett Hughes

Kidsafe Australia  Ms Jes Chalmbers

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Thursday, 20 August 2020 Canberra

Australian Local Government Association  Mr Adrian Beresford-Whylie

Western Australian Local Government Association  Councillor Karen Chappel  Mr Ian Duncan  Ms Terri-Anne Pettet

Royal Automobile Club of WA  Ms Anne Still

Western Australia Department of Transport  Mr Iain Cameron  Mr Douglas Morgan

Stabilcorp Pty Ltd  Mr Craig Pinson  Ms Peta Pinson

Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communication

Office of Road Safety  Ms Jessica Hall  Mr Tim Risbey  Dr Louise Rawlings  Ms Gabby O'Neill