Qld road toll expected to climb say leaked govt documents

 

AUTHORITIES are bracing themselves for an explosion in serious road trauma injuries and an increase in the road toll, a shock leaked Commonwealth Government document reveals.

Pointing to a failure of the National Road Safety Strategy, an Infrastructure Department key road safety data update has projected extra mayhem and carnage on our roads over the next decade.

The alarming modelling, which also shows decades of successful campaigns about drink driving is starting to be ignored by motorists, will put further pressure on police and public hospital emergency departments to better plan for more victims.

The 20-page document does not explain why more people are projected to die and be seriously injured on our roads.

But it provides a graph showing the number of fatalities where alcohol was involved increased in 2016 and continued increasing in 2017. The data for 2018 is still being compiled.

It also reveals a dramatic increase in the number of serious injuries. It is estimated by next year, there will be 40,000 victims of serious road trauma, exploding by an extra 10,000 within 10 years.

The 20-page document does not explain why more people are projected to die and be seriously injured on our roads. Picture: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle
The 20-page document does not explain why more people are projected to die and be seriously injured on our roads. Picture: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle

Deaths are also on a slight trajectory over the decade, hitting about 1300 a year.

The document warns: "we will likely miss 2020 targets for road deaths and serious injuries increased.

"Projections (without new measures) are for increasing deaths and serious injuries beyond 2020 as existing counter-measures have diminishing returns."

Despite safer vehicles, better roads and new technology, Australia is not on track to reduce its road toll by 30 per cent - limiting annual deaths to 998 - by December next year, as set by the National Road Safety Strategy. The strategy also aimed to reduce serious road injuries by 30 per cent by next year.

The target, agreed to by all states and territories in 2011, expires next year and a new target will be negotiated by the Commonwealth and the states.

If the road toll target was met by next year, 35 Queenslanders will be alive, 67 in NSW and eight in Victoria.

It comes as former transport minister, now Veterans Affairs Minister Darren Chester appears to have expressed his frustration over his own Government's response to the road toll.

"Road safety is primarily a state government responsibility but I believe the Federal Government can take on a larger leadership role and improve the coordination of research, data collection and information sharing across state boundaries," Mr Chester told The Courier-Mail.

"As the Minister who set up the inquiry into the National Road Safety Strategy, I never accepted that 1200 people had to die on our roads each year.

"We need a national approach to make sure the best road safety ideas are implemented in each state and there's an increased focus on reducing road trauma.

"The new office structure within the department needs to be properly resourced and given a higher priority by the bureaucrats in Canberra."

The leaked document obtained by The Courier-Mail, was presented to Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and a small group of stakeholders on September 2. Mr McCormack is the senior minister responsible for road safety.

In 2018, there were 1146 people killed on Australian roads. It is fewer than the 2017 total of 1224 road deaths but higher than in the 12-month period to March 2015.



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