22 January 2019
The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) has called for
immediate action on road safety, following another year where
fatalities on Australian roads were unacceptably high.
Last week the Deputy Prime
Minister, the Hon. Michael McCormack MP, announced a reduction in
the nation's road toll from 1,224 in 2017 to 1,146 in 2018, a total
of 78 fewer fatalities.
RACS Trauma Chair, Dr John
Crozier, said that while any reduction in road fatalties was
welcome, Australia is still a long way from meeting its targets
agreed to by all governments in 2011 under the National Road Safety
Strategy 2011-2020 (NRSS).
"I am pleased that there are
fewer fatalities on our roads, but sadly that will be cold comfort
to the families of those 1,146 people whose lives were tragically
lost. Now is not the time for complacency or to selectively
interpret the figures in a positive light.
"Australia's road safety
performance is in significant breach of our conservative NRSS
2011-2020 target - both with respect to death, but also,
critically, with respect to serious injury," Dr Crozier
Dr John Crozier last year
co-chaired an Inquiry into the Effectiveness of the NRSS. He said
that while he had been heartened by the federal government's
willingness to conduct the Inquiry, unless meaningful action was
taken subsequently there would be little change.
"Unless we take serious action
immediately, zero death and zero injury from road crashes, which
should be our goal, will continue to elude us. Effective solutions
are available, but material action on the recommendations of the
report of the Inquiry must be implemented. To date the federal
government has only committed to one of the twelve recommendations
that were put forward.
"We have seen a decade of lost
opportunities to halt the silent epidemic of serious injury on
Australian roads, as governments selectively implement proven
solutions. Continued failure to improve the situation will result
in another 12,000 people killed and 360,000 injured at a cost of
over $300 billion over the next decade."
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