Government committed to ‘zero road deaths’ by 2050

The federal government is working towards a goal of having zero deaths or serious injuries on the roads by 2050, minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Catherine King has said.  

The minister said she wants to work with all aspects of the transport industry in tackling road safety, which is “one of the largest challenges that we all face”.  

Speaking at Trucking Australia 2024 in Canberra, the Australian Trucking Association’s annual conference, she said the government is pursuing the vision that no-one should be killed or seriously injured on Australian roads through the National Road Safety Strategy and Action Plan. 

“This Government is fully committed to implementing road safety, to improving road safety, and to reducing road trauma across the nation’s road network as we work towards ‘Vision Zero’ by 2050,” she said.  

“The National Road Safety Strategy and Action Plan sets out the key actions that all levels of government will undertake up to 2025 in pursuit of these agreed priorities.” 

Last year Australia registered 1266 people killed on the roads – a 7.3 per cent increase compared to 2022.  

Around 15 per cent of all road crash deaths in Australia involve a heavy vehicle.  

Although heavy vehicles crash less often than other vehicles, when they are involved in a collision they are more likely to result in death or serious injury.  

The minister described last year’s road death figures as “catastrophic” and said there is a “shared responsibility” from all levels of government, road safety agencies, the transport industry and the community as a whole to improve road safety.

“The meeting of my ministerial colleagues from states and territories in December last year noted our concern at the increase in road deaths,” she continued. 

“We agreed that road safety ministers would engage with police ministers to discuss emerging trends and to investigate short-term action which could be taken to stem the rise.  

“I look forward to hearing the outcomes and discussing their recommended measures with my ministerial colleagues. That meeting is happening over the next two days.” 

Minister King said that accidents at railway crossings are a major concern, and the government is committed to improving safety in that area.  

A roundtable meeting, led by the National Level Crossing Safety Committee, was held in Brisbane last month to discuss the problem.  

King said that it has been pointed out to her that no heavy vehicle users were involved in the roundtable, and she said that this will be “rectified”.  

She went on: “The roundtable delivered commitments to a number of actions that will either be delivered by industry themselves or will certainly have an impact on industry.  

“Some of the actions that were agreed at that meeting were: the development of a nationally consistent and sustained driver education program with road and rail regulators and the industry working together.  

“Exploring options for in-vehicle technologies to provide more information to drivers about level crossings and approaching trains.  

“Working towards national harmonisation and enforcements for driver non-compliance at level crossings, led by the National Transport Commission, and greater collaboration between sectors and governments in sharing data at high-risk level crossings.” 

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