The National Road Safety Strategy: Reducing car accidents

Improving road safety in Australia by cutting the number of road fatalities through fewer car accidents is at the heart of the National Road Safety Strategy 2011–2020. The strategy has a firm figure in its sights, with its aim of a 30% reduction in the number of road fatalities and serious injuries by 2020.

But a recent spike in pedestrian injuries shows that this valuable initiative still has a long way to go to reach its goal.

What is the National Road Safety Strategy?

The National Road Safety Strategy is the nation’s ten-year plan to reduce road deaths and minimise car accidents on Australian roads. The strategy requires actions from all levels of government including federal, state, territory and local governments, with each having its own part to play in improving road safety in Australia.

What are the main actions in the National Road Safety Strategy?

There are four main categories for action under the National Road Safety Strategy:

  • investing in safe road infrastructure
  • improving the safety of vehicles on the road
  • encouraging safe road user behaviour
  • advancing a Safe System approach to road safety.

Who’s responsible for what?

The Australian Government is responsible for regulating safety standards for new vehicles, and for allocating infrastructure resources to improve road safety in Australia and reduce car accidents across the national highway and local road networks.

State and territory governments are responsible for funding, planning, designing and operating the road network, managing vehicle registration and driver licensing systems, and regulating and enforcing road user behaviour.

Local governments have responsibilities for funding, planning, designing and operating the road networks in their local areas.

Road safety strategies are nothing new in Australia, and since the first one was introduced in 1992, the amount of car accidents, serious injuries and road fatalities has been on a steady downward trend. Key actions that have contributed to this include the building of safer highways, the lowering of speed limits, and safety campaigns targeting drink driving, the use of seat belts, and the dangers of fatigue and speeding.

Pedestrian safety still a cause for concern

However, a disturbing increase in car accidents involving pedestrians over the past couple of years has led authorities to re-address and re-prioritise the measures taken to help improve road safety. In recent times in NSW, we have seen the introduction of 40km/h speed zones in the CBD to help reduce instances of pedestrian injury in the city. And at certain busy intersections, new traffic lights have been introduced with timers allowing pedestrians to see how much longer they have to cross the road.

Are mobile phones the elephant in the room?

While there are laws banning drivers from using their mobile phones when behind the wheel, the spike in deaths has turned the focus on the use of mobile phones by pedestrians. It’s hard to prove that mobile phones are to blame for the rise in pedestrian injuries, but there’s no question that more needs to be done to understand the cause, and this is an avenue worth exploring.

What happens if you have a car accident?

The National Road Safety Strategy is the country’s plan to keep everyone safe on the roads. But life doesn’t always go to plan. If you or a loved one are involved in a car accident and need to make a claim for personal injury, be sure to call an expert. Our team of senior lawyers at NSW Compensation Lawyers are always here to make sure you get the maximum compensation you deserve.

Further reading

  • National Road Safety Strategy 2011–2020 – find out more here:
  • Implementation Report – you can download the latest progress report here:

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