Road deaths up again – Governments must act

Australia’s peak motoring body says the latest monthly figures showing a 3.9 per cent increase in road deaths add to the compelling case for governments to lift their game on road safety.

Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics data show 1,187 people died on the nation’s roads in the 12 months to the end of February – 45 more than in the same period a year ago.

Road deaths increased by 54.5 per cent in the Australian Capital Territory, 36.8 per cent in Tasmania and 19.3 per cent in Western Australia, while the figures dropped in Queensland by one death to 282. Deaths of young children declined by 30 per cent but for pedestrians the figure rose by 23.4 per cent to 158.



12 months to February 202212 months to February 2023IncreasePercentage increase
Children 7 yrs and under2014-6-30.0%
Road User Group12 months to February 202212 months to February 2023IncreasePercentage increase

Data collected from Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics Australian Road Deaths Database 14 March 2023.

AAA Managing Director Michael Bradley said governments must work together to arrest the upward trajectory, including by making public all data that can shed light on the causes of road deaths.

“We know deaths are continuing to rise, but we have no national data regarding serious injuries, road quality, crash causes, or details regarding the people and cars involved.

“It is not enough to know how many people were killed in road crashes – we also need to know how they were killed, and how to prevent these deaths in the future”.

The AAA’s 2023-24 Budget submission calls for federal road funding to states and territories to be contingent on greater transparency of state-held road crash data so motorists and taxpayers can judge what is going wrong.

Mr Bradley said “It makes no sense for governments to be setting targets on road safety but not releasing relevant data about what is working and, more importantly, what isn’t working.

“Every road death is a tragedy. We must do more to make our roads safer, including by increasing road funding.”

Motorists pay 47.7 cents in excise for every litre of fuel they buy but, over the past ten years, less than 60 per cent of that money has been invested in land transport.

If all fuel excise collections were spent on land transport, we could make our road system more efficient and save lives.

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