Road deaths are on the rise, new data has shown, as the Australian peak motoring body continues its call for road safety reform.

    Government data shows a total of 1286 people have died on Australian roads in the 12-month period ending on February 29, 2024. That’s up 9.9 per cent on the previous 12-month period.

    In the month of February alone, 110 road deaths were recorded, up 25 per cent on February 2023 and up from 97 in January.

    Thus far in 2024, 207 road deaths have been recorded – up 7.3 per cent on the first two months of 2023 – with New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory’s tolls all up.

    New South Wales’ road death toll is up the most, increasing by 55 per cent to 62 for the calendar year to date, or 39.7 per cent to 373 deaths if comparing the 12-month period ending February 29 with the previous 12-month period.

    The Australian Automobile Association (AAA), which represents Australia’s state-based motoring clubs, has again called on the Federal Government to deliver on an election promise.

    Prior to the last federal election, shadow transport minister Catherine King – now the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government – pledged to “improve the timeliness and quality of road safety data”.

    She also said a Labor Government would “look for opportunities to ensure we can extract better-quality road safety data from states and territories in return for funding of road projects”.

    The AAA wants the Government to leverage its $10 billion annual road safety budget to obtain data collected by the states and territories, covering everything from the number of people involved in a crash to its likely cause, the driver’s behaviour and licence status, and the weather and road conditions.

    It’s calling upon the Federal Government to compel states to publish relevant data via the new National Partnership Agreement on Land Transport Infrastructure Projects.

    The current agreement is set to expire on June 30, 2024. The new one is currently being negotiated with the states and territories, and will dictate how $50 billion in federal road funding is allocated over the five years beyond July 2024.

    The AAA says its proposal, which would see states and territories’ funding allocation be contingent on their supply of this crash data, has been endorsed by all Liberal, National, Greens and Teals MPs in the House of Representatives but only one Labor MP.

    “State and territory governments collect the data needed to understand why road deaths are rising, but they are not reporting or sharing this information,” said AAA managing director Michael Bradley.

    “This critical data covers the quality of Australian roads, the causes of crashes, and the effectiveness of each state’s road rules and enforcement regime.

    “It is crucial for understanding the nation’s road trauma problems and for developing effective responses.

    “Data sharing would reveal which state’s road safety measures are the most effective, and the safety interventions that are most needed.

    “That would not only save lives, but also end the politicisation of road funding by revealing whether governments are investing in the roads that most need safety upgrades.”

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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