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 190,000 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 1,226 in 2017.
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, Regional Development and Cities 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 program, producing national road safety statistics, and coordinating the National Road Safety Strategy 2011–2020.
Community Attitudes to Road Safety – 2017 survey report and infographic
A report documenting the results of the latest national survey of community attitudes to a range of road safety issues.
Inquiry into the National Road Safety Strategy 2011–2020
The Australian Government initiated an Inquiry into the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020 (NRSS) in 2017. On 12 September 2018 the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020 (NRSS) Inquiry panel provided its report to the Australian Government at Parliament House.
Review of National Road Safety Governance Arrangements
On 4 October 2018, the Australian Government announced a Review of National Road Safety Governance in response to recommendation 6 of the Inquiry into the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020.
The review will examine whether Australia has the appropriate governance arrangements in place to deliver the commitments made by governments to mainstream road safety in line with the Safe System Approach of working towards safe roads, safe vehicles, safe people and safe speeds. The Review will also identify how the Australian Government can work in partnership with state, territory and local governments to bring down the number of road deaths and serious injuries.
- Terms of reference for the Review PDF: 621 KB
The Strategy sets out nationally agreed objectives, targets and priorities for road safety improvement in Australia. Further information available at roadsafety.gov.au
The National Road Safety Forum was held annually from 2012 to 2015.
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.
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