The National Road Transport Association is welcoming the Federal Government’s response to the Joint Select Committee on Road Safety’s report: Improving Road Safety in Australia, but says efforts to make our roads safer still need to go much further.
The Government has supported 18 of the 22 recommendation, noted three and rejected one.
“We now await finalisation of the National Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030 (NRSS) and the National Heavy Vehicle Safety Strategy for the rubber to really hit the road,” said NatRoad CEO Warren Clark.
“The NRSS will set out Australia’s road safety objectives, key priorities for action, and road trauma reduction targets to 2030.
“We want heavy vehicle safety to be a centrepiece of saving lives on our roads and we are advocating hard on behalf of our members to make sure that happens.
“Australia needs to embrace a better on-road culture, that respects heavy vehicles have a critically important place on the road.
“The pandemic has shown that freight must be preferenced in areas like COVID testing, border crossings and traffic separation if we’re to keep the country moving.
“The way passenger and light vehicles interact with heavy vehicles needs to be a fundamental element in the way all governments tackle road safety.”
The Federal Government’s acceptance of the Joint Select Committee’s recommendation for a renewed focus on driver education campaigns was especially welcome and NatRoad noted its emphasis on heavy vehicle awareness.
Mr Clark said it is time for governments in all jurisdictions to “get ahead of the game” on safety as Australians were vaccinated and life resumed to some sense of normality.
“During the pandemic, online shopping grew five to six times the level of annual growth in 2019, increasing the last mile freight task,” Mr Clark said.
“Congestion is likely to increase as people reject public transport in favour of private vehicles and increasingly rely on home delivery.
“We would like to see the NRSS include a study of Australian conditions relating to congestion and its contribution to road accidents.”