The Australian Transport Council has put together a comprehensive program to make Australian roads safer for motorists and commercial vehicles, with new initiatives slated to go into effect throughout the rest of the decade.
The program, known as the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020, seeks to lower the the number of people who are injured or killed in car accidents every year.
On average, four people are killed on Australian roads every day, and another 90 suffer serious car accident injuries. By the numbers, just about everyone in the country has likely been affected, in some way, by a car crash.
The program is a part of the broader Decade of Action for Road Safety initiative, in which countries from all over the world are participating to help prevent roadway fatalities and injuries.
The Department of Infrastructure and Transport admits that the casualty reduction targets set for 2020 are indeed ambitious. However, it argues that if government works closely with industry, businesses, organisations and communities, it will meet these lofty goals.
The personal – and economic – toll of car accident injuries
The logic behind the move is that most roadway fatalities are preventable. In the past few decades, Australia has introduced new laws and regulations that have made the roads a safer place, including higher road quality standards, safer cars, lower speed limits, new laws on licensing and several other factors.
However, even though there has been significant improvement in lowering the number of people who are injured or killed every year, even one death is too many. Roadway accidents cause about 1,400 deaths every year, and injure about 32,500 people.
This has an enormous effect on families around the country, and comes with a price tag of about $24 billion per annum.
However, this shouldn't take away from the remarkable improvement Australia has seen. Between 1980 and 2010, the nation's annual road fatality rate fell from 22.3 to 6.1 deaths per 100,000 people. What's more, this occurred as the country saw a 50 per cent increase in overall population.
It's an uphill battle though, and car accidents are still a serious problem. Anyone who has been injured or affected by a car crash may want to consult a compensation lawyer to learn what options are available.