Road Safety

Programme 2.3–Road Safety

Highlights

In 2013–14 the Department continued its leadership of the development of an international vehicle standard on side impacts with narrow objects, such as poles.

In November 2013 the United Nations World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations adopted the global technical regulation on pole side impact. Implementation of the regulation will have significant international benefits through improving vehicle crashworthiness in side impacts with narrow objects as well as enhancing safety in other types of side impact. Side impacts are responsible for 20 per cent of the Australian road toll and a high proportion of serious brain injuries.

Following adoption of the regulation, the Department is leading the transposition of the regulation into a United Nations regulation, to enable the implementation by countries such as Australia, Japan and the countries of the European Union, which implement global technical regulations though United Nations regulations. The Department also commenced development of a Regulation Impact Statement to mandate the United Nations Regulation.

The Department continued to work closely with state and territory road safety agencies to deliver the National Road Safety Strategy 2011–2020 and published the second annual status report on implementation progress. It also led arrangements for the planned mid-term review of the strategy, which included management of a major research and stakeholder consultation project. The review is scheduled for completion by the end of 2014.

A review of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 was announced by the Assistant Minister in January 2014. The review will report on stakeholder views published by the Department in August 2013.

Overview

Programme 2.3 was delivered through the work of the Surface Transport Policy Division, with input from the Policy and Research Division. This programme contributes to Outcome 2 through the development of a safer road transport system by working to make vehicles and occupants safer and drivers more informed.

Summary of Performance

Tables 4.7 and 4.8 summarise the Department's results in delivering Programme 2.3 against the key performance indicators and deliverables and their targets, published in the 2013–14 Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements.

Table 4.7 Summary of performance-Programme 2.3 key performance indicators

Key performance indicator Target Result
Contribute to the development of a safe road transport system. Statistical analysis and information published is accurate and robust.Stakeholders are assisted to evaluate and improve transport safety outcomes. 2013–14
Achieved
2012–13
Achieved
2011–12
Achieved
2010–11
Achieved
Statistical reports published by the Department contained accurate and robust analysis and information. A range of statistical information, research findings and policy advice was provided to stakeholders to support improved road safety outcomes.
Australia's motor vehicle safety standards are aligned with international standards. Australian Design Rules are aligned with international standards, where warranted,on a timely basis. 2013–14
Achieved
2012–13
Achieved
2011–12
Achieved
2010–11
Achieved

Electronic stability control was mandated for light commercial vehicles.

Brake assist systems were mandated for light passenger and commercial vehicles.

Anti-lock braking systems were mandated for heavy vehicles.

Other minor amendments were made to the Australian Design Rules to better harmonise with United Nations regulations.

Road vehicles supplied to the Australian market meet appropriate safety, emissions,anti-theft and environmental standards. Ongoing provision of an effective technical and administrative framework,providing high levels of assurance and timely decision making. 2013–14
Achieved
2012–13
Achieved
2011–12
Achieved
2010–11
Achieved
The Department continued work aimed at ensuring all road vehicles supplied in Australia met legislative and administrative requirements. This included maintenance of a certification and audit system for new vehicles and investigation of any complaints regarding potential non-compliance with Australian Design Rules.

Result Key
Achieved All targets for 2013–14 were met or exceeded.
Substantially achieved Targets were mostly met, and any issues are being managed.
Partially achieved Some targets were met, and any issues are being managed.
Not achieved None or minimal progress was made against targets in 2013–14.

Did you know?

Over the last decade, total annual deaths from fatal crashes involving a heavy vehicle such as an articulated truck or bus decreased by 32.7 per cent.

Source: Road trauma involving heavy vehicles: crash statistics.

Table 4.8 Summary of performance-Programme 2.3 deliverables

Deliverable Target Result
Coordinate progress monitoring and reporting on the National Road Safety Strategy 2011–2020. Publish 2013 implementation status report by December 2013. The 2013 implementation status report was prepared in consultation with state and territory road safety agencies and published in November 2013.
Publish regular statistical bulletins on national road deaths. Updated statistics published within two weeks of the end of each month. Updated statistics were published within two weeks of the end of the month.
Contribute to the development of international vehicle standards and implement new and updated international standards in Australia, through Australian Design Rules,where warranted. The Department actively participates in the development of international vehicle standards, robustly assesses standards for implementation in Australia (including through Regulation Impact Statements) and implements standards consistent with international timetables.

The Department made significant progress in leading work to develop and implement a global vehicle regulation on pole side impact. The regulation was adopted by the United Nations World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (Working Party 29) in November 2013 and the Department immediately commenced work to facilitate international and domestic implementation of the regulation.

The Department participated in the development by Working Party 29 of international whole vehicle type approval. This will provide for type approval at vehicle rather than component level in future, strengthening the international regime for mutual recognition of approvals and providing savings to manufacturers and consumers.

Following rigorous assessment, Australian Design Rules were issued on: electronic stability control for light commercial vehicles; brake assist systems for light passenger and light commercial vehicles; and anti-lock braking system for heavy vehicles. These were based on new and existing international standards.

The Department also participated in the development of new international standards and amendments to standards that are already aligned in the Australian Design Rules.

Maintain a system to ensure new vehicle models entering the Australian market are assessed as meeting, and continue to meet, regulatory requirements. Applications for approval to place identification plates are considered in a timely manner and a risk based audit and enforcement programme is conducted.

4,029 vehicle certification approvals were issued. Over 94 per cent of applications for approval to place identification plates were approved within 32 days (as outlined in the service charter).

A risk-based audit and enforcement programme involved 64 audits of vehicle production and test facilities.

Maintain a system to ensure that Registered Automotive Workshops and the used vehicles they supply to the Australian market meet regulatory standards. Applications for RAW approval and to import and plate used imported vehicles are considered in a timely manner,including conduct of mandatory inspections; and a risk based audit and enforcement programme.

204 workshop inspections were completed and 9,858 used import plates were issued.

79 per cent of workshop inspections were completed within the six-week target and 93 per cent of evidence examinations were completed within 20 working days.

Maintain a system to allow for the importation of standard vehicles and to ensure the importation of non-standard vehicles is in accordance with legislation. Applications for vehicle import approval are assessed in a timely manner.

The Department received a total of 12,607 non-registered automotive workshop import applications; an average of 1,050 a month. There were over 17,000 phone inquiries and 300,000 website hits.

The service charter for processing vehicle import applications sets a service standard target of 20 working days, when documentation is complete, although it notes this may not be met in peak periods.Average processing times were generally maintained well within the standard throughout the year.

Existing systems have been available to importers and have supported the importation of motor vehicles in accordance with the legislation.

A new system for vehicle imports has been designed and is under implementation. The new system will streamline submission processes and allow applicants to monitor application progress.

Facilitate the ongoing development and delivery of the keys2drive education programme for learner drivers. Assist the Australian Automobile Association in the delivery of the programme to agreed performance milestones. The Department worked with the Australian Automobile Association to maintain the delivery of the programme in accordance with the agreed business plan. A new funding agreement was established in December 2013 to extend the programme to 2015–16.
The number of school buses equipped with seatbelts for students in rural and regional areas is increased as a consequence of the Seatbelts on Regional School Buses administered item. Applications are processed and buses are fitted or retrofitted within specified guidelines. The Department administered payments for 49 school bus upgrades in 2013–14 and conducted an application round for 2014–15 funding, in accordance with the published programme guidelines.
Efficient and effective management of administered items. Items are administered in accordance with relevant legislation, published guidelines and ANAO guidance. The Seatbelts on Regional School Buses programme was administered in accordance with the published guidelines as approved by the Australian Government.

Table 4.9 provides a summary of the results achieved by each of the administered items under Programme 2.3.

Table 4.9 Summary of performance-Programme 2.3 administered items

Administered Item Result
keys2drive

Two payments were made to the Australian Automobile Association totalling $3.5 million.

At the end of 2013–14 there were 1,524 accredited keys2drive instructors. The programme delivered 93,148 lessons during the year bringing the total number of keys2drive lessons delivered to 276,354.

Seatbelts on Regional School Buses In 2013–14, $0.8 million was provided to bus operators to install seatbelts to 49 school buses.

Note: The budget and actual expenditure for each administered item is listed in Appendix A.

Detailed Report on Performance

The following report is against the components of Programme 2.3 in the 2013–14 Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements.

(a) National Road Safety Leadership

National Road Safety Strategy 2011–2020

The Department continued to work with state and territory road safety agencies and industry stakeholders to implement the national road safety strategy and to monitor progress towards the strategy target (a 30 per cent reduction in road crash deaths and serious injuries by 2020). The Department prepared the second annual implementation status report, which was considered by transport ministers in November 2013 and published on the Transport and Infrastructure Council website. The Department also commenced a major mid-term review of the national strategy, expected to result in a new three-year action plan for ministers to consider in late 2014.

Survey of Community Attitudes to Road Safety

The Department published the findings of the 2013 Survey of Community Attitudes to Road Safety. This periodic national survey involved telephone interviews with a large representative sample of Australian adults about their road safety beliefs, attitudes and practices. Topics covered included: perceived crash factors; speeding; drink driving; seatbelt usage; traffic regulation and enforcement; driver fatigue; and mobile phone usage.

National Road Safety Forum

The Department assisted with arrangements for the second annual National Road Safety Forum which was held in Hobart on 29–30 July 2013. The purpose of this annual event is to bring together key stakeholders to discuss road safety issues of national importance. Planning also began for the next forum which is scheduled to be held in the second half of 2014.

International Road Safety

The Department continued to play a lead role in Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation working groups to facilitate road safety improvements in the Asia-Pacific region. During the year, the Department chaired two meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Land Experts Group (in Bali and Christchurch) and developed a proposal for a regional workshop on motorcycle and scooter safety to be held in Vietnam in 2015. As the national focal point for Australia's participation in the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020 the Department provided periodic advice to the World Health Organization, the International Transport Forum and other international groups about Australian road safety activities.

The Bureau of Infrastructure Transport and Regional Economics collected data and compiled the national performance indicators used to monitor progress towards delivery of the National Road Safety Strategy.

(b) Driver Training Programmes

The Department managed the delivery arrangements for the keys2drive learner driver programme, which has so far provided learners and their supervising drivers (mainly parents) with over 275,000 professional coaching lessons. In December 2013, the Department established a $10.0 million funding agreement with the Australian Automobile Association to continue delivering the programme until June 2016.

(c) Seatbelts on Regional School Buses

During 2013–14 the Seatbelts on Regional School Buses programme delivered $0.8 million to regional bus operators to install seatbelts in 49 school buses. The programme was opened for a further round of applications between 2 May 2014 and 11 June 2014 with successful applicants to receive funding in 2014–15.

(d) Vehicle Safety

New Vehicles

Before new vehicle manufacturers and importers can supply vehicles to the Australian market they must meet provisions of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 and demonstrate that their vehicle types meet all applicable Australian Design Rules. In 2013–14 4,029 approvals or approval amendments were issued for identification plates and supply of vehicles to the Australian market and 64 audits were conducted of production, design and test facilities.

New Vehicle Regulations

The Department continuously reviews the Australian Design Rules and, where possible, harmonises them with international standards developed under the United Nations World Forum for the Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations. Harmonisation minimises trade barriers and allows vehicles manufactured for world markets to be supplied to Australia without the need for modifications. This leads to lower costs and a younger Australian fleet that is made up of safer, more environmentally friendly vehicles.

In 2013–14 the Department undertook activities that enabled the Australian Government to mandate:

  • electronic stability control for light commercial vehicles from 1 November 2015 for new models and from 1 November 2017 for all new vehicles
  • brake assist systems for light commercial and passenger vehicles from 1 November 2015 for new models, from 1 November 2016 for all new passenger vehicles and from 1 November 2017 for all new light commercial vehicles, and
  • anti-lock braking system for heavy vehicles (trucks, buses and trailers) from 1 July 2014 for new models and from 1 January 2015 for all new vehicles.

The Department was also a strong participant in international forums and research programmes leading to harmonisation and development of vehicle standards. In November 2013 the United Nations World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations adopted a new global technical regulation that will see improved safety outcomes for vehicles involved in side impact crashes. The Department led the development of this standard. This is the first time that Australia has led the development of an international vehicle standard.

Review of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989

In August 2013 the Department finalised and published the final report on the outcomes of a public consultation on the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989, conducted in 2012–13. On 13 January 2014 the Assistant Minister announced the terms of reference for a comprehensive review of the Act to be completed in 2014–15.

Involvement in the Australasian New Car Assessment Program

Complementing its role in vehicle safety regulation, the Department continued participating in the Australasian New Car Assessment Program, which provides safety ratings for vehicles in the Australian market, based on crash test performance and availability of safety features. The maximum safety rating is five stars.

CASE STUDY

Review of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989

a photograph of a motor carrier with cars

The Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 and its regulations provide the regulatory framework to apply a nationally uniform set of vehicle safety, environment and anti-theft standards for new cars prior to sale in Australia. It also regulates the first supply of used imported vehicles to the Australian market.

In January the Assistant Minister approved the Terms of Reference for a comprehensive review of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989: the first since 2000. The review aims to identify options to reduce the regulatory burden on business and improve the safety, environmental and anti-theft provisions of the legislation.

The review follows a public consultation process conducted in 2013 where the Department sought feedback on the legislation from stakeholders and interested parties. The first stage of this process was the preparation of a consultation paper to provide background to the Act and some guiding questions to facilitate consideration by stakeholders. Submissions were then invited from interested organisations or individuals with respondents asked to provide general comment on the objectives, relevancy, effectiveness and impacts of the Act. In August 2013, the Department published the results of these consultations in the Public Consultation Report-Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989.

Since the review was announced the Department has prepared a comprehensive discussion paper to generate informed public feedback on:

  • whether the objectives of the Act are being achieved, whether they continue to be appropriate and whether the current legislative framework is effective to achieve the objectives of the Act
  • whether there are opportunities to reduce the regulatory burden on business and enhance productivity without compromising the Act's objectives with respect to safety, environmental and security outcomes, and
  • whether the regulatory powers and reporting responsibilities in the Act facilitate effective and proportionate compliance by industry and consumers bringing new and used road vehicles into the Australian market for the first time.

A formal consultation process, commencing with the release of the paper and including public workshops, will occur early in 2014–15.

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Last Updated: 3 February, 2015