Record road toll renews data sharing call

Car crash on rural road. | Newsreel
Australia has recorded a record 12-month road toll. | Photo: 4FR (iStock)

Australia has recorded its worst 12-month road toll in more than a decade.

Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economic figures show 1310 people died on Australian roads in the year to April 30, up from 1,178 a year earlier.

The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) said this was the highest 12-month death toll since November 30, 2012.

AAA Managing Director Michael Bradley said the 11.2 percent annual increase in road deaths should be a wake-up call for all states and territories to join Queensland in agreeing to Federal requests to share data about the causes of road trauma.

“These figures underscore the importance of states reporting data they hold about the causes of crashes, the quality of roads, and the effectiveness of policing, so it can be used to produce more effective road safety interventions,” Mr Bradley said.

The latest 12-month figures include huge surges in New South Wales (31.2 percent) and the Northern Territory (35.3 percent) as well as increases in Victoria (12.4 percent), South Australia (9.8 percent) and Queensland (5.7 percent).

“These figures tragically show Australia’s current approach to road trauma management is failing and that we need a data-driven response to a problem killing more than 100 people every month,” Mr Bradley said.

He said the Federal Government had agreed to insert data transparency clauses into the next five-year intergovernmental road funding agreement, which begins in July.

“The Queensland Government has publicly agreed to provide road safety data, but other states have been silent on this important reform proposal,” Mr Bradley said.

“Data sharing will reveal which state’s road safety measures are the most effective, and the safety interventions that are most needed. That will not only save lives, but also end the politicisation of road funding by revealing whether governments are investing in the roads that most need safety upgrades, rather than investing in road projects in marginal electorates to win votes.”

In the Federal Budget, $21 million was allocated to enhance National Road Safety Data Hub, with the view to better linking federal road funding for state projects to data transparency.

For more information on data transparency visit the datasaveslives website.


Road deaths graph Australia