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Report on performance

Outcome 1-Transport outputs and programmes

Output 1.1.2-Safety

Highlights

In 2006-07 the ATSB was associated with several initiatives to improve road safety for Indigenous Australians. The bureau's roles included:

  • chairing the Indigenous Road Safety Working Group;
  • convening the Third Indigenous Road Safety Forum-held in Broome, Western Australia, in October 2006-and publicising its outcomes and recommendations;
  • sponsoring a university student under the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations National Indigenous Cadetship programme; and
  • releasing a joint report on Indigenous transport injuries with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, in June 2007.

The ATSB published two new report concepts in 2006-07, the Digest of aviation and road safety research reports for 2006, and the Australian Aviation Safety in Review.

On 13 October 2006, the Australian Transport Council of Ministers released the National Road Safety Action Plan 2007 and 2008. The release of the plan followed a comprehensive review, coordinated by the ATSB, of progress under the National Road Safety Strategy 2001-10.

Overview-Output 1.1.2-Safety

Output 1.1.2 is delivered jointly by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) and the Maritime and Land Transport (MALT) business division.

Under Output 1.1.2, the ATSB aims to improve national transport safety by undertaking research projects, collecting and analysing statistics, coordinating the National Road Safety Strategy and Action Plans, and providing safety, education and information material.

MALT provides the technical and administrative framework to enable assurance that all road vehicles meet appropriate safety, emission, anti-theft and environmental standards when first supplied to the Australian market; and participates in international vehicle standards forums and research programmes.

Table 3.4 summarises the output's performance in 2006-07.

Summary of performance-Output 1.1.2-Safety

Table 3.4 Summary of performance-Output 1.1.2

PBS/PAES performance indicators Results

Effectiveness

Stakeholders are assisted to evaluate and improve transport safety interventions and outcomes (ATSB and MALT)

The ATSB provided stakeholders with a broad range of road safety research findings and road crash statistics.

Following a comprehensive review of national road safety progress, the National Road Safety Action Plan 2007 and 2008 was developed and released.

MALT ensured that all road vehicles complied with appropriate safety, emission, anti-theft and environmental standards when first entering the Australian market.

Quality

A best practice Novice Driver Programme Trial is implemented in NSW and Victoria (ATSB)a

Work continued on the development of an innovative, best-practice curriculum and arrangements for the research trial and evaluation of a programme for new drivers.

Statistical analyses and conclusions are accurate and robust (ATSB)

The ATSB validated its data sources with alternative sources wherever possible, and the statistical content of all research was critically reviewed to ensure it was accurate, methodologically sound and correctly interpreted.

Aviation safety research reports are timely and informative b (ATSB)

The research findings were widely reported in Australia and overseas, and reports were commented upon favourably by stakeholders in government and industry. Aviation research reports were released in time to influence or assist ATSB investigations of aviation occurrences and contribute to a better informed public understanding of aviation safety.

Australia's motor vehicle safety standards are aligned with international standards (MALT)

Where possible, the Australian Design Rules are being progressively harmonised with international standards developed under the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe framework. The process is expected to be completed at the end of 2007.

85 per cent of vehicle and workshop processes are completed within target timeframes (MALT)

More than 85 per cent of processes were completed within the target timeframes.

Quantity

10 aviation and 25 road safety statistical and research publications are released (ATSB)

The ATSB released and published on its website 25 road safety statistical and research safety publications, comprising 10 road safety research reports and 15 road safety statistics publications.

The ATSB published 10 aviation safety research reports.

50 vehicle production and/or test facilities are audited (MALT)

Audits of 34 vehicle production and/or test facilities were conducted.

3,400 vehicle types are approved for identification plates and supply to the Australian market (MALT)

A total of 3,619 vehicle types were approved.

50 Registered Automotive Workshops applications are assessed and 155 RAWS inspections are conducted (MALT)

A total of 88 Registered Automotive Workshop Scheme (RAWS) workshop applications were assessed and 230 inspections were conducted.

16,000 applications to import vehicles are assessed (MALT)

A total of 21,513 import approvals were issued.

Price

$15.2 million

The actual price of this output in 2006-07 was $15.9 million.

Overall performance

a Performance indicator modified in the 2007-08 PBS.
b Performance indicator first published in the 2007-08 PBS.

Detailed report on performance-Output 1.1.2-Safety

Effectiveness indicators-Output 1.1.2

Stakeholders are assisted to evaluate and improve transport safety interventions and outcomes

 

Release of the National Road Safety Action Plan 2007 and 2008

The ATSB coordinated the development of the National Road Safety Action Plan 2007 and 2008, which was released on 13 October 2006 by the Minister for Transport and Regional Services and the Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads on behalf of the Australian Transport Council of Ministers. The action plan came into effect on 1 January 2007.

This fourth action plan under the National Road Safety Strategy 2001-10 was developed jointly by the Australian Government and state and territory governments. Input was received from a broad range of organisations and stakeholders through the National Road Safety Strategy Panel chaired by the ATSB.

Road vehicle standards

In 2006-07 MALT continued to ensure that all road vehicles comply with appropriate safety, emission, anti-theft and environmental standards when first entering the Australian market, by:

  • developing and administering the standards, in conjunction with government agencies, vehicle manufacturers and importers, industry associations, vehicle user groups and the general public; and
  • performing documentation and vehicle assessments, monitoring, inspections and audits covering importation and standards compliance, to provide assurance that when vehicles are first supplied to the Australian market they meet the requirements of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989.

In addition, MALT worked towards the activation of international agreements that will enable a greater role for Australia in developing international vehicle standards, and a reduction in the costs of conformance testing.

Road safety

Australia recorded 1,598 road deaths during the 12 months ending on 30 June 2007. This was 3 per cent less than the number of people killed on the roads in the 12 months to June 2006.

The June 2007 result translates to 7.7 deaths per 100,000 people, a 17.2 per cent reduction from the benchmark rate of 9.3 deaths per 100,000 people (which is based on 1999 figures).

With a challenging target of no more than 5.6 deaths per 100,000 people by the end of 2010 (see Figure 3.2), the Australian Government is working with the states and territories and other stakeholders to seek to accelerate the rate of decline of road deaths, particularly by developing, implementing and monitoring National Road Safety Strategy action plans, and by providing research, data analysis and educational information.

 

Figure 3.2 Trends in road safety outcomes-fatal accidents

Figure 3.2 Trends in road safety outcomes - fatal accidents

NRSS = National Road Safety Strategy
Note: Each point represents the rate of road deaths in the preceding 12 months. 'Dec' refers to data as at 31 December.
Source: ATSB.

 

Aviation safety

Over the 10 years from 1 July 1997, the total number of Australian air accidents (fatal and non-fatal) declined by 63 per cent, from 232 to 86 Importantly, the number of fatal accidents remained low (see Figure 3.3).

The total accident rate (calculated as the number of accidents per 100,000 flying hours) declined significantly over the decade to 2005 (the latest year for which data is available), indicating an improved level of aviation safety.

While these results are encouraging, considerable effort and vigilance will be needed, on the part of both government and industry, to sustain and improve on the gains made over the previous decade.

Figure 3.3 Trends in aviation safety outcomes-fatal and non-fatal accidents

Figure 3.3 Trends in aviation safety outcomes - fatal and non-fatal accidents

Note: Data includes accidents involving 'VH' registered air transport, charter, private, business, flying training, and aerial work (including aerial agriculture). 'VH' registered gliding, ballooning and sports aviation operations have not been included.

 

Did you know?

Motorcycle registrations have increased more than 20 per cent between 2003 and 2006-reflecting a significant growth in the popularity of motorcycling.

Motorcyclists face considerably greater risks than car drivers, largely due to their relative lack of protection in the event of a crash. Road crash statistics show that:

  • about 240 riders are killed and 5,000 are seriously injured each year on Australian roads;
  • this represents 15 per cent of all road deaths, and about 20 per cent of serious injuries, although motorcycles make up only three per cent of registered road vehicles;
  • when travel distance is taken into account, motorcyclists are more than 20 times more likely than drivers to be killed in a road crash.

Quality indicators-Output 1.1.2

A best practice Novice Driver Programme Trial is implemented in NSW and Victoria

In 2006-07 work continued on a major cooperative effort-involving the Australian Government and the New South Wales and Victorian governments, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, Insurance Australia Limited and the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria-to develop and trial an innovative driver education programme.

This research is in support of the Australian Government's policy initiative to work with the states and territories to introduce a national compulsory scheme for all new provisional licence holders (P-platers). The aim is to develop a programme that provides young drivers with a greater appreciation of risk factors and helps them to cultivate safer driving practices.

Although progress in 2006-07 was delayed by factors such as the complexity of the project, the project partners are scheduled to conduct pilot testing and finalise the curriculum by the end of 2007.

A large-scale trial is expected to be undertaken in 2008, with about 7,000 P-platers in each state taking the course and a similar number participating in control groups. All participants will be monitored for at least a year after the completion of the trial, and independent experts will be commissioned to undertake a comprehensive evaluation of the effectiveness of the programme.

The total cost of the trial, including evaluation, is expected to be about $10 million. The Australian Government has contributed $3 million.

Statistical analyses and conclusions are accurate and robust

Road safety

The ATSB's Road Safety Branch undertook statistical analyses based on data from a variety of sources. The statistics unit routinely checked its main data sources, validating them where possible using alternative sources. Staff critically reviewed the statistical content of both in-house and externally commissioned research to ensure it was accurate, methodologically sound and correctly interpreted.

Rail safety

In 2005 the Rail Safety Regulators Panel initiated a review of rail safety data as part of a project to improve the quality of rail safety data nationally. The government, through the ATSB, partially funded the project.

In June 2007 the ATSB published a set of verified safety data from all Australian rail jurisdictions, covering the period January 2001 to December 2006. The data comprises eight key categories, including deaths and serious injuries, identified by the regulators panel and the Australasian Railway Association as being the most relevant for national publication.

Aviation safety research reports are timely and informative

 

Aviation safety publications

In 2006-07 the ATSB's aviation safety research section continued to fulfil Australia's obligations, under ICAO requirements, to analyse information held in the bureau's aviation safety accident and incident database to identify safety trends and examine preventative measures. The section engaged industry experts and stakeholders to ensure research was focused, timely and relevant.

The 10 aviation safety reports released in 2006-07 addressed a diverse range of topics covering human factors, engineering, aviation medicine, and accident trends. They included:

  • a study of perceived pilot workload and perceived safety of area navigation (RNAV) global navigation satellite system (GNSS) approaches, conducted in parallel with the investigation of the fatal accident at Lockhart River;
  • an analysis of medical conditions affecting pilots;
  • a study of trends in aircraft age and their influence on safety, published at a time when international attention was being drawn to the question of whether older transport aircraft should be allowed to continue passenger services; and
  • a systematic analysis of the types of human error occurring in Australian civil aviation accidents.

The ATSB published the inaugural edition of Australian Aviation Safety in Review, a regular report intended for a broad audience seeking information and insights about trends and emerging issues in Australian aviation. Copies of the publication were mailed to flying schools around Australia, giving the ATSB the opportunity to reach a wider audience. Copies were also provided to foreign government ministers and officials attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Transport Ministers Meeting hosted by Australia in March 2007.

Five safety research grant reports were published, bringing to conclusion the three-year aviation safety grants programme initiated in 2003-04. Grant-funded studies included research into the impact of Australian transcontinental 'back of clock' operations on sleep and performance in commercial flight crews, and passenger attitudes to aircraft cabin safety communications.

The ATSB's aviation research programme received international exposure through reporting in industry journals and magazines, such as Flight International and the Flight Safety Foundation's AeroSafety World, and in the media both in Australia and overseas.

Australia's motor vehicle safety standards are aligned with international standards

Vehicle standards

The Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989, which applies to imported and locally manufactured vehicles, requires all vehicles to meet national safety and environment standards when they are first supplied to the Australian market. These standards are the Australian Design Rules (ADRs) for motor vehicles and trailers.

The Department is progressively reviewing the ADRs to harmonise them, where possible, with international standards developed under the framework adopted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). Harmonising will remove trade barriers and allow vehicles manufactured for world markets to be supplied to Australia without the need for extensive modifications. It will lead to lower costs and better access to safer, more environmentally friendly vehicles.

The review process is being carried out in consultation with representatives of the state and territory governments, vehicle manufacturing and operating industries, and consumer groups. All the major ADRs relating to specific components and systems have been reviewed. The review of the remaining ADRs, which are a combination of general safety issues and vehicle dimensional aspects, will be completed by the end of 2007.

As part of this process, in 2006-07 the Department:

  • published the revised, harmonised ADR 8-Safety Glazing Material and ADR 14-Rear Vision Mirrors;
  • completed the consultation process for amendments to ADR 13-Installation of Lighting and Light Signalling Devices on other than L-Group Vehicles and ADR 46-Headlamps, to allow the use of light-emitting diode (LED) technology;
  • completed the consultation process for ADR 23-Passenger Car Tyres and ADR 33-Brakes Systems for Motorcycles and Mopeds;
  • completed the consultation and voting processes for ADR 35-Commercial Vehicle Brake Systems, ADR 38-Trailer Brake Systems and ADR 62-Mechanical Connections Between Vehicles;
  • completed a majority of the consultation processes for ADR 58-Requirements for Omnibuses Designed for Hire and Reward, ADR 59-Omnibus Rollover Strength and ADR 66-Seat Strength, Seat Anchorage Strength and Padding in Omnibuses;
  • identified further required technical developmental work for ADR 68-Occupant Protection in Buses;
  • registered 53 ADRs on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments as required under the Legislative Instruments Act 2003;
  • circulated a regulation impact statement for public comment to examine government intervention options for under-run barriers for heavy vehicles;
  • prepared legislative changes to the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989, to facilitate implementation of the UNECE 1958 Agreement, to provide for mutual recognition of vehicle certification approvals; and
  • tabled in the Parliament of Australia explanatory documents proposing accession to the UNECE 1998 Agreement, to facilitate global harmonisation of technical regulations for motor vehicles.

85 per cent of vehicle and workshop processes are completed within target timeframes

 

Vehicle manufacturers and importers must meet all appropriate provisions of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 and must demonstrate that their vehicle types meet all applicable ADRs before the vehicles can be supplied to the Australian market.

In 2006-07, 98 per cent of vehicle import application processes were completed through to final approval or refusal within the target timeframe of 17 days from receipt of the final piece of necessary supporting documentation.

The processes for compliance certification for all new vehicles have a completion time target of 32 working days from the receipt of the last piece of necessary compliance evidence. In 2006-07, 94 per cent of new vehicle certification processes were completed within the target timeframe-90 per cent of full volume vehicle certifications, 93 per cent of low-volume certifications and 98 per cent of trailer certifications.

Special compliance arrangements apply for manufacturers and importers who supply limited numbers of new and used vehicles to the specialist and enthusiast market. The Department assesses whether a vehicle is a specialist or enthusiast model under criteria administered as part of the Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicles Scheme. In 2006-07 the Department assessed and issued decisions on 122 eligibility applications under the scheme.

Certain new vehicles may be supplied to the Australian market under the low-volume arrangements. The majority of vehicles supplied to the market in low volumes are used imported vehicles, processed through the Registered Automotive Workshop Scheme (RAWS). Each registered automotive workshop has a schedule that specifies the vehicle models that the workshop has been approved to import and modify.

To approve new workshops and vehicle models under RAWS, departmental officers physically inspect the first of each vehicle model and examine the associated compliance documentation for each workshop. The Department aims to complete the inspection within six weeks of the workshop completing the approval application. The inspection and examination processes are resource intensive and closely scrutinise the compliance of vehicles and workshops with the RAWS requirements.

Throughout 2006-07 there was a continuing demand for additional vehicle models to be added to approved workshops' schedules of approved vehicles. The increased demand resulted from workshops' desire to offer greater ranges to purchasers, and the reduced availability of some approved vehicle models.

Approximately 43 per cent of inspections during 2006-07 were conducted within the target timeframe of 42 days-the average inspection waiting time was 47 days. Approximately 90 per cent of revised evidence documents for RAWS were examined within the timeframe of 30 days.

Quantity indicators-Output 1.1.2

10 aviation and 25 road safety statistical and research publications are released

Statistical and research publications

In 2006-07 the ATSB released 35 statistical and research safety publications, 10 on aviation safety and 25 on road safety. Table 3.5 shows the trends in transport safety research.

Road safety publications

In 2006-07 the ATSB released and published on its website 10 road safety research reports, including reports on managing driver fatigue and a crash-based evaluation of ADR 69-Full Frontal Impact Occupant Protection.

The ATSB also released and published 15 road safety statistics publications, including 13 road fatality statistical reports, a statistical profile of road safety among Indigenous Australians, and the first of an ongoing series of quarterly bulletins on fatal heavy vehicle crashes in Australia.

Aviation safety publications

The ATSB released 10 aviation safety reports in 2006-07 that addressed a diverse range of topics. These included, human factors analysis of accidents, ageing aircraft and its influence on safety, a study of medical conditions affecting aircrew, and accident trends in Australian aviation.

A further five reports were published by the ATSB under the aviation safety research grants programme.

50 vehicle production and/or test facilities are audited

There was a 42 per cent decrease in the number of vehicle production and/or test facilities audited, from 59 in 2005-06 to 34 in 2006-07. The reduction reflected the impact that the global diversification of vehicle manufacturing and testing facilities has on the facility audit regime.

3,400 vehicle types are approved for identification plates and supply to the Australian market

There was a 10 per cent decrease in the number of vehicle types approved for identification plates and supply to the Australian market, from 4,089 in
2005-06 to 3,697 in 2006-07. The decrease was a result of fewer new or amended ADRs being introduced (and thus requiring approvals to be amended) during 2006-07.

50 Registered Automotive Workshops applications are assessed and 155 RAWS inspections are conducted

In 2006-07 the Department assessed 88 RAWS workshop applications, approved 12 new RAWS workshops, renewed 76 RAWS workshop approvals and conducted 230 RAWS inspections.

16,000 applications to import vehicles are assessed

There was an increase of nearly 6 per cent in the number of approvals to import vehicles, from 20,210 in 2005-06 to 21,513 in 2006-07, as a result of an increase in demand.

Table 3.5 Trends in transport safety research and regulation

2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 estimate
Research
Total research publications 36 41 32 35 35
Aviation research publications 10 9 10 10 10
Road research publications 22 30 22 25 25
Other research publications 4 2 8 5 0
Activity regulated under the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989
ADRs (re)issued 11 1 41 60 30
Compliance of motor vehicles
Audits of production and/or test facilities 25 58 59 34 50
Approvals to fit identification plates to vehicle type 3,417 3,462 4,090 3,619 3,400
Registered Automotive Workshop Schemea
New workshop applications 55 34 13 12 10
Amending and renewal workshop applicationsb n/a n/a n/a 76 30
Workshops approvedc 45 64 56 88 40
Inspections conducted 145 163 268 230 155
Used import plate approvals 2,916 6,319 7,465 9,096 9,000
Inspections completed within six weeksd n/a 80% 54% 43% >85%
Examination of evidence submitted completed within 20 working daysd n/a 80% 50% 90% >85%
Motor vehicle imports
Approvals to import vehicle type 16,236 23,246 20,210 21,513 16,000
Vehicles covered by import approvals 152,880 328,584 237,256 402,118 300,000
Import approvals issued within 17 working days 85% 93% 97% 98% 90%
Activity regulated under the Trade Practices Act 1974
Safety investigations 110 96 107 106 No set targets
Safety recalls notified 126 165 158 176

a This scheme began on 1 April 2002 and became mandatory on 8 May 2003 for used imported vehicles.
b Included to indicate all workshop applications assessed during reporting period.
c Includes two-year renewals.
d A new system for measuring this value was introduced in 2004-05.

Outlook-Output 1.1.2-Safety

In 2007-08 the ATSB will continue to publish the findings of research on road and aviation safety, focusing on issues such as psychological and social factors influencing motorcycle rider intentions and behaviour, and sleepiness and hazard perception while driving. The ATSB will also continue to analyse and report on road safety and aviation safety issues in response to requests from ministers.

The ATSB will continue to facilitate the trial of a driver education programme for P-platers in New South Wales and Victoria in 2007-08.

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