General

RAC calls to change road safety

JAMES KRISTOFF

The RAC wants a review of the road safety reform process in WA after several recommendations were not implemented by the State Government.

RAC head of member advocacy Matt Brown said several reforms, which included a repeat drink driver strategy approved by cabinet in 2004, had not been introduced.

“The government should set up an independent review to look at trying to find out what’s wrong,” Mr Brown said.

MATT BROWN: Attempts to introduce road safety reforms have stalled.

“It’s not about pointing the finger at individual politicians, it’s about trying to figure out what’s wrong with the system and how we can fix it.”

Public Health Advocacy Institute of Western Australia research assistant Andrea Boss said she supported a call for a review by the RAC.

Ms Boss said while road safety reform takes time, organisations such as the PHAIWA and RAC had a responsibility to influence government to take action.

She said the RAC was putting pressure on government and opposition to ensure reform remained at the forefront of their discussions.

“The PHAIWA can assist by advocating for road safety issues to be prioritised in the discussions,” she said.

Ms Boss said road safety would benefit from further investment after the Barnett government announced an $831 million budget surplus last month.

She said increased expenditure would improve road-user education, which the RAC highlighted as an undelivered commitment.

Curtin-Monash Accident Research Centre director Brett Hughes said WA was lagging behind other states in necessary reforms.

Professor Hughes said despite government spending on roads and driver education, the cost to WA remained too high in lives lost.

“There are many policies and projects which could be funded which would reduce trauma in WA,” Professor Hughes said.

“From a human perspective, a proportion of the budget surplus spent on road safety would result in a substantial reduction in pain and suffering to the community from the consequences of road safety.”

Statistics from the Office of Road Safety show 200 people are killed on WA roads each year.

Another 2800 people receive serious injuries which cost the state more than $2.4 billion each year.

There have been 141 deaths on WA roads this year.

Published in the Western Independent October 2010

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