Road Safety

The annual economic cost of road crashes in Australia is enormous—estimated at $27 billion per annum—and the social impacts are devastating.

Since record keeping commenced in 1925, there have been over 180,000 deaths on Australia's roads. However, road trauma levels have declined substantially over the last four decades, despite considerable population growth and a threefold increase in registered motor vehicles. During this period, the number of road deaths per year has fallen from 3,798 deaths in 1970 to 1,155 in 2014.

In Australia's federal system, government responsibilities for road safety vary across jurisdictions:

The Australian Government is responsible for regulating safety standards for new vehicles, and for allocating infrastructure resources, including for safety, 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.

The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development has a range of functions that support the Australian Government's role in road safety. These include: administering vehicle safety standards for new vehicles, administering the National Black Spot Program and other road funding, administering the keys2drive and Seatbelts for Regional School Buses programs, producing national road safety statistics, and coordinating the National Road Safety Strategy 2011–2020.

What's New

Austroads—Review of the National Road Safety Strategy

In February 2015 Austroads published the results of a project it commissioned to provide substantial input to the review of the National Road Safety Strategy. This work was designed to identify new countermeasures or changes in trauma patterns that would inform national road safety priorities.

National Road Safety Action Plan 2015–2017

On 7 November, the Transport and Infrastructure Council endorsed the National Road Safety Action Plan 2015–17, developed to support the implementation of the National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS) 2011–2020. The new Action Plan is intended to focus national efforts in the next three years on strategically important initiatives.

This page provides links to information addressing road safety. Please follow the links below for details on the topic of interest.

  • The Strategy sets out nationally agreed objectives, targets and priorities for road safety improvement in Australia. It is an initiative of the Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure.

  • The National Road Safety Forum is an annual event to discuss major road safety issues.

  • The Australian Government is supporting the Decade of Action for Road Safety.

  • The Department is involved in a range of work aimed at reducing risks to children from vehicles in home driveways.

  • Keys2drive is a learner driver program run by the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) and funded by the Australian Government. The program provides one free driving lesson with an accredited instructor, to learner drivers accompanied by their supervising drivers.

  • In the May 2015 Budget, the Australian Government announced that the Seatbelts on Regional School Buses programme would terminate on 30 June 2015.

  • The Good Gear Guide booklet provides advice about motorcycle safety equipment.

  • Follow this link to view all road safety education material, research and analysis reports, statistical information and brochures.

  • Follow this link to view a range of statistical information relating to Australian road fatalities produced by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE).

  • The Department encourages collaborative efforts around Australia to improve road safety for Indigenous Australians.

  • In December 2004, the Australian, Victorian and NSW Governments jointly announced plans to develop and trial a post-licence driver education program in partnership with the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), the NSW-based Insurance Australia Group (IAG) and the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV).

  • The Department commissions a series of national surveys on Australian road safety issues, known as the Survey of Community Attitudes to Road Safety.

  • This site is password protected and is for emergency personnel.