A new approach
This strategy presents the view that road deaths and injuries are neither inevitable nor acceptable and society has a responsibility to prevent them.
Road safety is a community issue and the strategy includes roles and responsibilities for everyone. It sets direction for a change in culture - a culture in which fatalities and serious injuries on our roads are not accepted as inevitable, and which strives to prevent them from occurring. This change in culture includes every driver, every passenger, every pedestrian, every cyclist, every motorcyclist, every truck or delivery driver, every bus or taxi driver, every individual responding appropriately to safety rules and their ongoing enforcement. This change in culture also includes each organisation and part of society.
Those engaged in building and managing roads have a responsibility to provide a safe network, manufacturers have a responsibility to design and market the highest standard of safety in their vehicles. Organisations and businesses purchasing vehicles have a responsibility to own a safe vehicle fleet, road users have a responsibility to comply with the law and enforcement agencies have a responsibility to increase compliance. Most importantly the community has the responsibility to demand safe travel on our roads and support the actions that will make a difference.
There is a belief in the community that road fatalities and serious injuries are the result of risk taking or extreme behaviour, and these crashes can receive extensive media coverage. However, research shows that in South Australia over half of all fatal crashes, and 90% of injury crashes are the result of mistakes, inattention or common lapses in judgement. We want a system that minimises injuries and their severity in the event of road crashes.
The Safe System approach adopts a holistic view of the road transport system and the interaction between people, vehicles and the road environment. It recognises that people will always make mistakes and poor choices, often resulting in road crashes, but seeks to ensure that those actions do not result in a fatality or serious injury.
|The Safe System approach to road safety is built on several key principles:|
|Human Factors – no matter how well we are trained and educated about responsible road use, people make mistakes, and the road transport system needs to accommodate this.|
|Human Frailty – the finite capacity of the human body to withstand physical force before a serious injury or fatality can be expected is a core system design consideration.|
|Forgiving Systems – roads that we travel on, vehicles we travel in, speeds we travel at, and communities we live in, need to be more forgiving of human error.|
|Shared Responsibility – everyone has a responsibility to use the road safely with organisations, businesses and communities taking responsibility for designing, managing and encouraging safe use of the road transport system.|
These principles do not abrogate the individual responsibility each one of us has to exercise due care whenever we enter into the road environment. We have made major gains in reducing road trauma and further behavioural improvements are required. Every driver is responsible and accountable, not just the few drivers who engage in extreme behaviours. Every driver who creeps over the speed limit, answers or uses a mobile phone, drives after drinking or drug taking, does not wear a restraint or who drives while fatigued, is a dangerous driver. Drivers who drive while unlicensed or disqualified demonstrate a total disregard for the safety of others. They need to be removed from the road. Further enforcement efforts are needed to detect drivers who engage in dangerous behaviours, which we know contribute to serious casualty crashes.
Our traditional approach will not take us the rest of the journey. A new approach is necessary if we are to continue to make gains and move towards a truly safe road system.
A new approach is needed to fully recognise the road environment as the essential building block for a safe road transport system. Our new approach will seek to increase safety priorities in land use and transport planning decisions, by building connections with the planning process. A major opportunity for integrating safety into planning is the development of the 30 Year Plan for Greater Adelaide. Important steps will be to increase the involvement of local government in building a safe system, and to ensure the road environment provides the right signals to road users about the appropriate travel speed.
A new approach will assist in realising the benefits that technological advancements can offer to improve road safety. By accepting that humans are fallible, we encourage technology solutions that can dramatically reduce the chances of vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-infrastructure and vehicle-to-pedestrian collisions, improving the quality and timeliness of safety information to road users. A new approach requires many different organisations to integrate road safety into their priorities and activities. An important part of this strategy is to build the partnerships and connections necessary to make this happen. Within Government, the existing partnership between the Department for Transport, Energy and Infrastructure, the South Australia Police and the Motor Accident Commission, will continue and be strengthened, as will the important roles of the health, education, research and local government sectors.
We will look for new opportunities and new partners to address road safety from as many directions as possible. Private organisations all have a major role to play in building a safe system. A priority of this strategy, for example, will be to form partnerships with those organisations with large fleets of vehicles to find ways to prioritise safety in vehicle purchasing. A new international standard under development (ISO 39001 Road Traffic Safety Management) is expected to assist organisations to build road safety plans suitable for their business.