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Understanding Australia’s National Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030

1,200 people are killed each year on Australian roads, and over 3,000 people are recorded on the Australian Trauma Registry every year with severe injuries. (National Road Safety Strategy 2021 – 30, 2021).

The recent 2018 National Road Safety Inquiry into the effectiveness of the National Road Safety Strategy 2011 – 2020 highlighted the unacceptable scale of road trauma in Australia and called for immediate planning for a long-term, sustainable approach to road safety.


What is the National Road Safety Strategy?

The National Road Safety Strategy represents the commitment of federal, state and territory governments to an agreed set of national goals, objectives and action priorities, setting out a path for action to reduce fatal and serious injury crashes on Australian roads. (National Road Safety Strategy, 2021).


The Australian National Road Safety Strategy 2021 – 2030 Safe System Principles

Within The National Road Safety Strategy’s ten-year plan, there are eight guiding principles.

1. A long-term vision

Zero deaths and serious injuries by 2050: a safe system in which a mistake does not cost a person’s life or health.

The vision is ambitious, however achievable with commitment. 

*Source: National Road Safety Strategy 2021 – 30. (2021).


2. A safe system approach

This is in step with the United Nations approach to global road safety through its Sustainable Development Goals and the second Decade of Action on Road Safety.

The safe system approach is an internationally recognised approach to road safety. The system involves a shared responsibility between operators, engineers, planners, lawmakers, road authorities, decision-makers and police officers to design a road system that supports the Vision Zero goal.

*Source: National Road Safety Strategy 2021 – 30. (2021).

*Source: Australian Government Office of Road Safety. (2021).


3. Ten-year targets

Within the 10-year National Road Safety Campaign, there are two primary targets :

  • To reduce the rate of deaths from road crashes per 100,000 population by at least 50% by 2030: to 689
  • To reduce the rate of severe injuries from road crashes per 100,000 population by at least 30% by 2030: to 33,373

*Source: National Road Safety Strategy 2021 – 30. (2021).


4. An evidence-based approach

National priority actions will be selected on the basis of evidence and effectiveness, enabled by a National Data Hub.

As outlined in the National Road Safety Strategy, there is an abundance of fatality and serious injury data; however, not enough is known or recorded to determine the root cause of a collision where interventions can be made. 

The strategy also outlines the known data collection gaps in work-related driving. This is where a root cause data collection body like DriveRisk can majorly benefit businesses and the wider community in the long-term Strategy toward Vision Zero.

DriveRisk has accumulated over 150 billion kilometres worth of driver data, which has lent itself to the accuracy and reliability of our in-vehicle driver safety & fleet risk management solutions.

*Source: National Road Safety Strategy 2021 – 30. (2021).


5. Clear governance arrangements

Responsibility for actions will be clear.

Since the local governments currently control a large portion of the road network, there is need for cohesion among governments to work towards embedding road safety as a key reporting requirement.

A review of each state’s requirements and road safety assessments for local councils may be necessary to establish responsibility for the design, safety and maintenance of each local government-controlled road network. 

Through these assessments and collaborations, responsibilities should become and remain clear for all involved.

*Source: National Road Safety Strategy 2021 – 30. (2021).


6. Transparency

Progress on implementation, towards targets, and safety performance indicators will be published regularly, enabled by a National Data Hub.

An external advisory reference group may conduct reviews to ensure safety performance indicators are enabled by a National Data Hub and published dashboards showing rates of change are available to everyone.

*Source: National Road Safety Strategy 2021 – 30. (2021).


7. Strong accountability mechanisms

Continuation of the Office of Road Safety, establishment of a National Data Hub and consideration of an external advisory group to monitor progress under the Strategy and Action Plan. 

As the owners of the Strategy, Infrastructure and Transport Ministers represent all jurisdictions together with the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA).

  • Each jurisdiction is accountable for the delivery of the national actions in the National Road Safety Action Plan
  • The Infrastructure and Transport Senior Officials’ Committee is responsible for monitoring the implementation of agreed actions and managing the process for adjustments in actions where the evidence points to a need for change
  • The Office of Road Safety, in the Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications is coordinating work with states and territories and ALGA on the implementation of the Strategy, including progress reporting on the fatality and severe injury reduction outcome targets under the Strategy and Action Plans

An external advisory reference group may conduct reviews to ensure all parties to the Strategy are accountable for implementing it through establishing clear, rigorous performance measures. 

*Source: National Road Safety Strategy 2021 – 30. (2021).


8. Board and shared responsibility

The National Road Safety Strategy will reach out beyond the transport sector to find new partners to achieve change.

*Source: National Road Safety Strategy 2021 – 30. (2021).


The National Road Safety Strategy: How you can contribute

There are three key themes within the social model approach towards Vision Zero; safe roads, safe vehicles, and safe roads use. Said themes represent the long term commitment to a safer transport system.

You can do your bit, as an individual motorist, by actively contributing to the three themes.


Safe Roads

As motorists, we are all within our rights to safe roads. Make sure to alert your local council when you notice road deterioration. 


Safe Vehicles

Keeping your vehicle up to date with scheduled maintenance and regular checks is essential in our bid towards ensuring safer vehicles.


Safe Road Use

Road safety is a shared responsibility for all motorists. Moving about at a safe speed and remaining alert and engaged on our roads is the best step toward ensuring safer roads for all motorists and pedestrians.

It’s also important that we all adhere to enforced road rules and refrain from speeding, driving under the influence, or texting while driving every time you get behind the wheel.


Let’s all do our bit to achieve Vision Zero. Because at the end of the day, no one should be killed or seriously injured on our Australian roads.

Read the full National Road Safety Strategy Draft.

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