2014 Review of the National Road Safety Strategy

When the current strategy was established in 2011, it included a requirement for a thorough review of the strategy to be carried out after the first three years. The review was conducted by Austroads in 2014 under Terms of Reference approved by Transport Ministers. These called for:

  • an assessment of progress made during the first three years of the NRSS (2011–2013)
  • a review of the ongoing suitability of the ‘high level’ content of the NRSS
  • identification of implementation priorities and key actions for the next three years.

The review was largely informed by an independent study commissioned from the Centre for Automotive Safety Research (CASR) at the University of Adelaide.  This work was designed to identify new countermeasures, changes in trauma patterns and other considerations impacting on national road safety priorities; and included a review of recent research literature, collation and analysis of a range of data, and targeted discussions with key road safety stakeholders. The results of this project were published by Austroads in February 2015.

The main findings of the review were:

  • Good statistical progress was made in the first three years of the NRSS, as measured by overall changes in annual road fatality counts.
  • Fatality trends were less positive for certain sub-groups of road users, particularly cyclists, motorcyclists and older drivers.
  • Progress in reducing serious injury numbers was difficult to determine because of the lack of reliable, nationally consistent, non-fatal crash data. Available hospital data provided some evidence that serious injury levels had not declined in concert with the general downward trend in deaths.
  • The review found that progress in implementing the 59 ‘first steps’ actions in the NRSS was varied, though there was evidence that most had been actively progressed to some extent and that there had been a number of clear achievements. Progress had been particularly strong in the vehicle safety area.
  • The review concluded that the ‘high-level’ content of the NRSS—its guiding vision, targets, key directions and Safe System principles—remain valid and appropriate for the 10-year strategy.
  • The review identified a range of ‘priority areas’ where road safety progress appears to have been lagging or where there is opportunity to make significant future gains. These areas included a mix of high-risk road user groups, countermeasure priorities and capacity building activities, and are discussed in some detail in the report prepared by CASR.
  • The review also concluded that the next phase of NRSS delivery should be guided by a more concise action plan than the initial ‘first steps’ agenda: it should focus on issues that clearly warrant national attention and that can be addressed through specific national actions.