The Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) supports a call from 13 transport and medical
organisations in a joint submission to the Transport and Infrastructure Council to prioritise the consistent
collection and timely reporting of road safety data as part of the next National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS).
Road trauma is a public health crisis, with close to 1,200 Australians killed and around 44,000 hospitalised due to road trauma every year.
Despite a commitment to the collection and reporting of road safety data as part of the NRSS signed almost 10
years ago, we still cannot measure a number of key road safety indicators. With hospitalised injuries from road
crashes estimated to increase by around 20% to more than 50,000 between now and 2030, it is essential that
governments recognise the importance of data collection, aggregation, and reporting on road safety.
ACEM President Dr John Bonning said that states and territories across Australia have shown an ability to rapidly provide almost real-time data on a wide range of indicators in response to COVID-19, and that same approach should be applied to road safety.
“The spirit of cooperation which has prevailed across our health systems, as well as the focus and unity across
collective levels of government in ‘flattening the curve’ is one of the great success stories of Australia’s response to COVID-19. Just as we have been able to flatten the curve on the COVID-19 pandemic, so should we be aiming to flatten the predicted increase in the number of people who will be killed and hospitalised due to road trauma,” said Dr Bonning.
“We have seen how quickly the public have been provided access to real-time data in response to COVID-19 -
such as infection rates, intensive care admissions, and testing - on a state-by-state and national level, and
strong communication on the link between what the data is telling us and the decisions that are being made.
“The success of Australia’s COVID-19 response has been due in large part to co-operation across all levels of
government, driven by national leadership and coordination to ensure that Australians receive consistent and
timely reporting of data. Conversely, it is clear that the progress we have made to date in reducing the number of Australians killed and hospitalised due to road trauma has stalled. There is no reason why the same principles which have been successful in the COVID-19 response cannot be adopted as part of the next NRSS agreement and thus embedded into our future road safety strategies to allow for the collection and reporting of a robust road safety data set.”
ACEM is the peak body for emergency medicine in Australia and New Zealand, responsible for training emergency physicians and advancement of professional standards. www.acem.org.au