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Priority : Transport safety, including implementation of the action plan for the National Road Safety Strategy and parliamentary consideration of the Transport Safety Investigation Bill

National Road Safety Strategy

The National Road Safety Strategy 2001-10 was adopted by the Australian Transport Council (ATC) in November 2000. The target of the strategy is to reduce the annual number of road transport deaths per 100 000 by 40 per cent. In approving the strategy, the ATC agreed that it should be supported by a series of two-year action plans setting out specific road safety measures.

During the period of the first action plan (2001 and 2002) Australia's annual fatality rate fell to 8.75 per 100 000 population, 6 per cent below the 1999 benchmark rate of 9.3. An even lower rate of about 8.1 was required to maintain steady progress toward the 2010 target of 5.6.

The new action plan for 2003 and 2004 was adopted by the ATC in November 2002 and identifies action items with potential to achieve a significant impact on road trauma within the next few years, and others that will lay the foundation for longer term gains. Priority areas include:

  • more effective speed management
  • expansion of road-based safety treatments
  • enhanced drink-driving deterrence
  • measures to reduce fatigue-related harm.

Transport Safety Investigation Bill

A major milestone for transport safety was achieved this year when the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 (TSI Act) and the Transport Safety Investigation (Consequential Amendments) Act 2003 (TSI (CA) Act) received royal assent on 11 April 2003. Both Acts and accompanying regulations come into effect on 1 July 2003.

The TSI Act enables the ATSB to undertake rail investigations on the defined interstate rail network and creates an updated legislative framework for aviation and marine investigations. In aviation, marine, and now rail the ATSB is able to contribute effectively to maintaining and improving transport safety through conducting independent, 'no-blame' investigations into transport safety accidents and incidents as well as industry and public education through communication of the results of those investigations.

Transport safety research

The ATSB undertook significant safety research in road safety and commenced work on several aviation safety research projects. The Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics (BTRE) economic safety research focuses on estimating the cost of transport accidents.

In 2002-03 the BTRE published a report entitled Rail Accident Costs in Australia (Report 108). This report examines the demographic distribution of rail accident victims and estimates the socio-economic cost to the Australian economy.

The report assists governments, rail organisations and households identify initiatives they can each employ to mitigate the losses associated with rail accidents. In particular, it provides the cost estimates necessary to evaluate rail infrastructure investment proposals.

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