Taken from the Australasian College of Road Safety (ACRS) newsletter.

The latest Australian road toll shows the number of road-related deaths per month is declining in all states except Queensland, but the national total is still tracking almost 11 per cent behind the nine-year road safety target for the end of 2020.  According to June 2020 statistics released by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE), there were 78 deaths on Australia’s roads last month – a reduction on the five-year average for June of 98 deaths.

However, while New South Wales, Victoria, the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Tasmania, the ACT and South Australia all recorded a decline in the number of deaths from January to June 2020 compared to the same period last year, Queensland saw an increase in this number.  The number of lives lost on Queensland’s roads in the first six months of 2020 was 117, compared with 99 last year – an increase of more than 18 per cent.

Meanwhile, Western Australia was the state to record the largest percentage reduction in deaths, with an almost 25 per cent decline in the number of lives lost compared the same period last year.

A bulletin released by the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) pointed out, despite these reductions, Australia’s 2020 average of 43 road deaths per 1 million residents is higher than that of the United Kingdom (28), Germany (39), Spain (39) and Ireland (33).  “The longer term picture shows Australia in an unflattering light,” the AAA statement said, arguing that while the European Union more than halved its road deaths between 2001 and 2017, Australia only reduced its fatalities by 30 per cent over the same period.

In fact, the most recent BITRE report stated the rolling 12-month total of 1105 deaths was 11 per cent higher than it needs to be in order for Australia to meet the National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS) target.

Signed into action by state and federal governments in 2011, the NRSS aims to reduce road deaths and injuries by 30 per cent through the decade to 2020.  Currently, the AAA said, Australia has only achieved a 19.1 per cent reduction, with only six months left to reduce the road toll by 10.9 per cent in order to meet the NRSS goal.

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