"More than 100 Australians are killed in car crashes every month and the same number are seriously injured every day, so the significance of this problem cannot be over-stated," says Australian Automobile Association Chief Executive Michael Bradley.
It is not only the cost in life that has been revealed by the AAA's latest report - road crashes cost the Australian economy almost $30 billion annually, and the AAA is urging for a raft of federal policy interventions it says are urgently needed to reduce deaths and injury.
"The social cost of road deaths is both obvious and immeasurable, however the economic implications of Australia's road safety crisis are not. The numbers we're releasing today clearly demonstrate our current approach is neither effective nor proportionate, and that Australia needs an urgent response from our national government in the form of greater leadership and greater funding."
The Cost of Road Trauma in Australia report shows the costs of road trauma, mainly in the form of loss of life and well-being, vehicle damage, and disability care, represent a $29.7 billion drag on the national economy.
The report also for the first time details the cost of road crashes to government in the form of lost taxation, income support, and health and emergency services costs, which equate to a $3.7 billion annual burden upon Australian government budgets.
The report has has prompted the following recommendations:
- Improved data collection to identify the true extent and underlying causes of death and injury on Australia's roads
- The re-establishment of the National Office for Road Safety to support best practice research and driver education
- The linking of federal road project funding to safety targets and project outcomes
- Developing advertising guidelines (via ACCC) to ensure consistent promotion of accurate vehicle safety ratings
- Reviewing data collected by first responders at crash scenes to ensure emerging trends, such as mobile phone use, are understood and consistently reported across jurisdictions
- Removing tariffs and other car industry protectionism to ensure Australians have improved access to safer cars
- Coordinated education programs (focusing upon national issues such as older drivers, international drivers, driver distraction, and the promotion of safer vehicles & new vehicle technologies)
- Greater measurement and accountability relating to actions identified within the National Road Safety Strategy
These recommendations form part of the AAA's National Road Safety Strategy, wich aims to reduce road deaths and injuries by at least 30 per cent by 2020.
As yet, there has been no reduction in the number of deaths and injuries since the strategy was launched in 2011.