Road Safety Summits have been ineffective in reducing the rising road toll

State politicians need to take the politics out of road safety and address worsening driver behaviour.


Noel O'Brien

3/12/20242 min read

Road safety requires continuous efforts and effective strategies to reduce increasing road tolls. Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales, have organized summits, forums and roundtables to address their rising road toll. Despite these initiatives, their road toll continues to rise.

In 2020, Victoria held a Road Safety Summit following a horrendous road toll the previous year. Unfortunately, in the four years since the summit their road toll has continued to rise and the state has lost its safest state position.

Queensland, held a State Safety Roundtable in 2023. This had a positive impact in reducing the road toll in 2023. But it was short-lived, as Queensland's road toll has increased by 25% in 2024.

New South Wales held a Road Safety Forum in 2024, following a horrendous result in 2023. Whilst its too early to assess its success, the state is experiencing its worst start on the roads in 2024. On past performance, state politicians are unlikely to reform their ineffective road safety action plan or their inadequate Speed Camera Program.

These road safety summits have failed to deliver reforms that address the increasing road toll and worsening driver behaviour. State politicians have been slow to make effective changes. They've guarded the status quo and the billions of fines revenue they collect each year.

The 'Fines and Enforcement Strategy,' no longer works. Billions in unpaid fines confirms drivers attitudes to unfair fines. Police enforcement has declined, with a shortage of thousands of officers along with retention and cultural issues in police forces. Drivers are seeing less visible policing and setting their own rules.

States have over relied on 'The Swedish Safe System Approach,' in setting road safety strategies. This has been ineffective in reducing our road toll. It fails to address Australian conditions which are totally different than Sweden's. We need a unique local approach that addresses worsening driver behaviour, which is the main cause of increasing road trauma.

National Road Safety Summits must be held regularly to ensure every jurisdiction is working in unison. We need effective solutions that address worsening driver behaviour, which means a much better sanctions mix. State politicians must take politics out of road safety and make our road much safer for all drivers.