The Prime Minister can contain the soaring road toll

Only prime minister Albanese can reverse the soaring road toll, as state transport ministers have failed.

Noel O'Brien author Penalty Rip-Off

5/1/20241 min read

It comes as no surprise that Easter recorded its worst road toll in 15 years. The Anzac weekend saw 9-die in crashes. This year's national road toll is forecast to increase yet again. Its imperative that the Prime Minister takes immediate action to reverse this alarming trend.

Prime Minister Albanese, was the Federal Transport Minister in 2011. He signed off on the National Road Safety Strategy with all states and territories. This was a response to the UN Decade of Action on Road Safety, it aimed to significantly reduce the road toll by 2020. Despite these efforts, the road toll in 2023 remained virtually unchanged at 1266 lives lost, the strategy was a failure.

Since 2020 road safety continues to deteriorate. The Prime Minister must lead the states to reverse the escalating road toll. While the responsibility for road safety lies primarily with the states, the federal government has a crucial role with road funding and now providing states incentives to change strategy.

All governments must recognise that the national shortage of 4.000 police officers is impacting on enforcement and road safety. Its a problem that will take years to fix. On top of this the states dated sanctions mix is not changing worsening driver behaviour. After the horrific Easter break, NSW Commander of Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, Assistant Commissioner Brett McFadden said ...

“.... we can’t accept this irresponsible behaviour and the community shouldn’t either. It is time we as a collective worked together to end this carnage on our roads,”

Police Traffic and Highway Patrol commanders in many states made similar statements criticizing deteriorating driver behaviour.

The prime minister has an opportunity to fix it. To standardize fines, sanctions, road rules and good driver rewards nationally. Developing sanctions that actually change driver behaviour. With better rewards for good drivers and tougher sanctions for repeat offenders and drivers who use alcohol and drugs.

The current state of the nation's road toll is alarming, and urgent action is required. The Prime Minister must work with all state and territory transport ministers to fix it. Up to 350 lives will be lost needlessly if he fails to act.