Science

Great start to the Decade of Action for Road Safety

Tuesday, 10 May, 2011
Bob Beale

The expected injection of more than $2 billion from tonight's Federal Budget to fix road black spots and upgrade rail freight corridors in NSW is an excellent start to the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety, says a leading transport safety researcher.

“This is great news for road safety, particularly in regards to fixing that deadly Pacific Highway,” says Chair of Road Safety, Professor Raphael Grzebieta, from Transport and Road Safety (TARS) Research at the University of New South Wales.

"Budget leaks suggest that as well as tackling some of the worst black spots on the Pacific, Hume and Princes highways, the congested rail freight network between Sydney and Newcastle will also get an upgrade worth $840 million – and that will take more heavy vehicles off the F3 Freeway and northern Sydney's roads."

"In NSW alone, road accidents kill 450 people and cost the economy around $5 billion every year, so the extra funding is also a sound investment," Professor Grzebieta says.

The big funding boost will better enable the NSW Government to bolster its efforts to build and manage a safe road and traffic system, Professor Grzebieta says. The “safe system” approach has been adopted by all Australian governments to underpin Australian road safety strategies.

The added commitment to funding road safety engineering projects will help greatly to meet Australia’s global and local commitments for improved road safety, he says.

The UN Decade for Road Safety 2011 - 2020 will be launched tomorrow, (May 11) in Canberra and Sydney as well is in most major cities across the globe.

The NSW government has lit the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons this week to mark the launch and declare its continued commitment to road safety. Passed as a Resolution of the General Assembly, sponsored by the Australian Government and many others, the goal of the decade is to stabilise and reduce the scourge of road trauma.

NSW is seen as a global leader in reducing road trauma through its research and evidence-based programs over the past three decades.  “We are heartened by the recent announcement of additional funding from the Federal Government and” Professor Raphael Grzebieta further commented.

“We’ve been successful in NSW because we got the science right, and secured strong bipartisan political will and community support for road safety.  The extra Federal funding is terrific and now it's time for the NSW Government to invest its resources as well into effective actions to reduce road injury and death."

Professor Grzebieta will be Chairing the Australasian College of Road Safety’s NSW Chapter together with the RTA’s Centre for Road Safety, the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 launch in NSW by the Roads and Ports Minister the Hon Duncan Gay MP at NSW Parliament House. A special event road safety seminar will follow with presentations from a number of distinguished road safety stakeholders.

Media contacts:

Raphael Grzebieta - r.grzebieta@unsw.edu.au

Faculty of Science - Bob Beale 0411 705 435 bbeale@unsw.edu.au