Australian road toll showing signs of decline

The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) has released encouraging figures showing that the number of road deaths in the country is abating - but has warned that the government and the Australian public must make an effort to continue this trend.

In an August 13 media release, the AAA claimed that the Australian road toll has decreased in the year to June 2013 - news that will certainly be warmly received by any fleet manager.

"The reduction in road deaths is an encouraging development and hopefully it marks the start of a longer-term trend," said AAA Executive Director Andrew McKellar.

He cited statistics from the AAA's Benchmarking the Performance of the National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS) report, which stated that there were 294 fatalities in the June 2013 quarter, a decrease from 307 in the previous quarter.

The pattern appears to be a continuation of a longer-term fall in road deaths, according to further statistics from the Australian government.

The Department of Infrastructure and Transport reported that there were 1,306 road fatalities in the 12 months to December 2012, compared to 1,277 in the same period the previous year.

While the signs are certainly positive, Mr McKellar urged motorists to play their part in making sure the number of deaths on the roads keeps falling.

"Although we welcome the improvement in these figures, there is a strong need to sustain this effort if we are to meet our target of reducing deaths and serious injuries by 30 per cent by 2020," he said.

He stressed that the government could also help by investing in roads to make them safer.

An investment of $4.7 billion would save 36,000 lives and serious injuries over the next 20 years, said Mr McKellar.

If you are a fleet manager in Australia, you too can contribute towards a safer driving environment - make road safety an integral part of your fleet management program and encourage defensive driving habits in your staff.