Road Safety

Road crashes in Australia have a significant social and economic impact.

Since record keeping commenced in 1925, there have been over 190,000 deaths on Australia's roads. However, road trauma levels have declined substantially over the last four decades, despite considerable population growth and a threefold increase in registered motor vehicles. During this period, the number of road deaths per year has fallen from 3,798 deaths in 1970 to 1,135 in 2018.

The Australian Government takes road safety seriously and announced the establishment of the Office of Road Safety (the Office) in April 2019 to provide greater leadership and coordination of road safety efforts at a national level.

The Office commenced on 1 July 2019 within the Surface Transport Policy Division of the Department. It will initially be focused on establishing the functions needed to perform its lead agency role while delivering priority government commitments to new and continuing road safety programs. 

The key objective of the Office of Road Safety is to provide national leadership in eliminating road trauma in Australia. The Office will operate as the primary policy advisor to the federal ministers for road safety on matters related to delivering safe roads, vehicles, speeds, and people, and will draw together interdisciplinary expertise and experience to learn, share and channel effort towards proven approaches to reducing national road trauma. In doing this, it will work collaboratively with counterpart agencies across the states and territories, as well as expert agencies such as Austroads.

It will actively seek partnerships to develop and prioritise proposals that achieve these reductions and we will work with stakeholders to develop these partnerships.

Further information on the work of the Office will be available in the coming month by emailing:

roadsafety@infrastructure.gov.au

Road Safety in Australia

In Australia's federal system, government responsibilities for road safety vary across jurisdictions:

The Australian Government is responsible for regulating safety standards for new vehicles, and for allocating infrastructure resources, including for safety, across the national highway and local road networks.

State and territory governments are responsible for funding, planning, designing and operating the road network; managing vehicle registration and driver licensing systems; and regulating and enforcing road user behaviour.

Local governments have responsibilities for funding, planning, designing and operating the road networks in their local areas.

As well as the Office of Road Safety, the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development has a range of functions that support the Australian Government's role in road safety. These include: administering vehicle safety standards for new vehicles, administering the National Black Spot Program and other road funding and producing national road safety statistics.

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Last Updated: 18 November, 2019