Through the National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS) 2011–2020, the Australian Government and all state and territory governments have set national targets to reduce the annual numbers of fatalities and serious injuries from road crashes by at least 30% by 2020. Progress towards the targets is measured from a baseline: the annual average during the three-year period 2008 to 2010.

At the start of the NRSS, deaths from road crashes in Australia were occurring at the rate of 6.6 people per 100,000 population (based on the NRSS baseline of 1,426). Good progress was made until early in 2015; then there were increases in deaths in 2015 and 2016. There has been a slight decrease in 2017 (provisional total 1,225) and the current rate (at the end of April 2018) is 5.1 deaths per 100,000 population, after falling to 4.8 deaths in March 2015.

The increases in deaths in 2015 and 2016 highlight the difficulty Australia is facing to reach the 30% reduction target for deaths. There is currently no nationally agreed measure of serious injuries from road crashes, but annual hospitalisations due to road crashes appear to have been increasing. There are around 36,000 people hospitalised every year, causing ongoing pain and suffering, and an enormous economic loss to Australia. Work will continue under this Action Plan to establish and populate a matched national crash and hospital data series.

The Action Plan contains nine Priority Actions that all jurisdictions have agreed must be completed and will assist to meet the targets for road trauma reduction contained in the NRSS.

This plan also includes a list of Other Critical Actions—these represent either extensions of existing national efforts or supporting actions that are important to continue in addition to the key national priority list.