Australian road toll skyrockets as UN announces bold new goals

Posted on July 8, 2024Comments Off on Australian road toll skyrockets as UN announces bold new goals

The United Nations (UN) wants to halve the global road toll by 2030, tackling the “silent pandemic” with a celebrity-led awareness campaign.

The campaign, under the motto #MakeASafetyStatement, will kick off in New York during 2025 before reaching more than 1000 cities in more than 80 countries.

Celebrities such as Novak Djokovic, Michelle Yeoh, and Naomi Campbell will support the campaign through slogans such as “I drive slow” or “I don’t drive under the influence.”

Jean Todt, United Nations special envoy for road safety, and former Scuderia Ferrari CEO and FIA president, highlighted the urgency of the issue, declaring 1.2 million people die each year on the road, with road accidents the “number one killer” for people aged five to 29.

“Road safety is not high enough on the political agenda in most countries. While we know the remedies to road crashes, action is lagging behind,” Mr Todt said. 

Beyond its new awareness campaign, the UN is working to halve road-related deaths and injuries by 2030 by working with local governments and safety organisations.

In Guatemala, the National Civil Police have launched prevention campaigns and training sessions; in South Africa, the UN is focusing on raising awareness and promoting responsible road behaviour among young motorists.

While there’s no word on whether the UN’s awareness campaign will reach Australian shores, local Federal, state and territory governments are battling to control a growing road toll.

Between June 1, 2023 and May 31, 2024,1303 people died on Australian roads, according to data published by the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE).

While this was down nine deaths on the rolling 12-month count from May – where 1310 road users died, the highest recorded figure since November 2012 – it’s still 123 deaths higher than the same period a year ago.

The Federal Government recently provided Australia’s states and territories with an ultimatum: hand over road safety data or risk funding being withheld.

Anew five-year funding deal – known as the National Partnership Agreement on Land Transport Infrastructure Projects – came into effect on July 1, 2024 and includes a $21.2 million investment in the National Road Safety Data Hub, announced in the Federal Budget.

Queensland is the only jurisdiction thus far to announce it will share data on car crashes, traffic policing and road conditions with the Federal Government.