Road Safety Inquiry

Tasmania's road trauma record is among the worst in Australia, which is why the Legislative Council is holding an inquiry into road safety.

Taking a stand on road trauma

There is no silver bullet when it comes to road safety. We must look at the issue holistically if we are to reduce road trauma.

That’s why the Tasmanian Legislative Council’s inquiry into our state’s poor road safety record is a significant step forward in changing the way we think about road trauma.

The inquiry will seek to understand what’s causing our high crash numbers and how to reduce fatalities and serious injuries.

Why has this inquiry been called? 

This inquiry has been called to address Tasmania’s road safety record, particularly our failure to meet National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS) targets. The NRSS 2011-2020 was aimed at reducing both the annual number of road crash fatalities and serious road crash injuries by at least 30% over the 10-year period. We failed to reach both these targets.      

In 2011, 24 people lost their lives on our roads, while 272 were seriously injured. In 2020, 36 people died and 284 were seriously injured. On average, between 2011 and 2020, 32 people died and 269 were seriously injured on our roads each year.

In fact, as of December, Tasmania had the worst road safety record of any state, with 6.6 deaths per 100,000 people. This is far higher than the best-performing state, Victoria, which has 3.17 deaths per 100,000. If we could match them, we could save 19 lives a year.

How can we fix it?

Because of these statistics, we need to look closely at the way road safety is managed. This includes road infrastructure design and funding, vehicle safety, the capacities of the State Service and civil construction sector to deliver safer roads, education to improve road user behaviour, impacts to the health system and the cost of road trauma.

It’s also vital that we consider improved data collection, as well as road safety success stories and research from other states and countries, to help us implement national and international best practice in Tasmania.

We know that our poor road trauma trends have continued despite advances in vehicle design, the hundreds of millions of dollars flowing into Tasmania’s roads, increased avenues for police enforcement, as well as improvements to education programs and campaigns.

And for these reasons, it’s not just governments that must take responsibility for the failure of the NRSS, but our community as a whole. All road users need to accept that taking risks and poor behaviour by some is a recipe for disaster, making crash reduction difficult.

We simply can’t continue with the same way of thinking of years gone by and expect to improve road safety in the future.

In preparing its submission to the inquiry, we launched a web portal so Tasmanians could have their say.

The 2010 comments, observations and ideas received in just two weeks have helped shape our submission and confirm what our members have been telling us – we need safer roads, better driver training, increased police presence on our roads, increased automated speed enforcement, speed limits that are aligned with the road standard, and more road safety education in schools.

With submissions to the inquiry now closed, the Select Committee will hold public hearings to gather further evidence.

It will then deliver findings and recommendations which will be considered by the State Government.

Inquiry timeline

Inquiry tabled and accepted by Legislative Council: 29 June

Committee appointed: 29 June

Terms of Reference finalised: 13 July

Submissions close: 27 August

Public hearings: TBC

Findings: TBC