Failure on Road Safety


Noel O'Brien

1/8/20241 min read

Despite the efforts and promises made by politicians, the 2023 road toll has reached a staggering 1266-lives lost, the highest in 7-years. This alarming increase calls into question the effectiveness of current road safety strategies and the ability of states to achieve their road toll reduction targets.

One of the major issues contributing to this failure is the inadequacy of the, "Fines and Enforcement," strategy. Drivers no longer see fines as a deterrent, this has resulted in a lack of compliance with traffic laws. The current system fails to address worsening driver behaviors and lacks the necessary driver safety programs to discourage repeat offenders.

Furthermore, the decrease in police presence, including fewer highway patrols, has led to reduced policing on our roads. This reduction in enforcement has created an environment where drivers feel less accountable for their actions, further contributing to the rising road toll. This will only get worse with police recruiting, retention and manning problems.

In order to address the increasing trauma on our roads, politicians must accept the shortcomings of the current sanction system and take immediate action to reform it, making it fairer for good drivers and tougher for repeat offenders. This means implementing more time based sanctions where drivers need to invest their time in driver safety and skills improvement programs.

A better system would self regulate, with drivers fearing sanctions that eat into their time with driver and skills improvement programs. Drivers would be more responsible fearing inclusion on the, "At Risk Driver Register," where insurance premiums would rise and employers would scrutinise drivers safety profile.

It is crucial that politicians no longer ignore the increasing trauma on our roads. The rising road toll is not just a statistic; it represents lives lost, families shattered, communities affected and cost exceeding A$30-billion each year. It's time for politicians to prioritize road safety and take decisive action to reform the dated sanctions system.