"Roads to Recovery" not the only answer for a reduced road toll

October 2008

Tens of billions of dollars being poured into the development of safer roads throughout Australia’s road transport network are doing little to reduce the nation’s road toll, according to cheap car insurance provider Budget Direct.

From 2002 to 2007, the average annual reduction in road fatalities is less than 1%, well below the rate required to meet the National Road Safety Strategy 2001-2010 target, which aimed to reduce the annual number of road deaths per 100,000 population by 40% to no more than 5.6 by December 2010.

With the Australian Government investing almost $38 billion on the country’s National Land Transport Plan (AusLink 1 & 2) from 2004 to 2014, General Manager for Budget Direct John Dujmovic raises concerns over how effective this funding has actually been in reducing the nation’s road toll.

“During the time when the Australian Government has spent almost sixteen billion dollars on making our roads safer, the annual rate of road fatalities has remained virtually stagnant and in some states has actually risen,” Mr Dujmovic said.

“Past initiatives such as crack-downs on speeding and drink driving have proven extremely effective in reducing the nation’s annual road toll, however it’s becoming blindingly obvious that it is the skill level and behaviour of Australian drivers that should now be on the Government’s radar.

“Certainly, money needs to be spent on making our road networks safer, but you simply can’t ignore the fact that despite so much money being spent on this, our annual road toll has remained largely unchanged,” he said.

Mr Dujmovic said that significant investments in practical driver education were needed in order to kick-start another downward trend in road fatalities.

“For a number of years, advocates of advanced driver education such as John Cadogan from Wheels Magazine, have been crying out for changes to the way young drivers’ skills and behaviours are assessed and monitored, and this monitoring should continue at regular intervals throughout a person’s lifetime behind the wheel.

“We’re starting to see corporate Australia take a lead role in developing advanced driver training, with a number of companies paying for staff who regularly drive as part of their day-to-day work, on courses to increase their awareness of actions that should be taken in an emergency situation.

“Even major automotive retailers such as Supercheap Auto are now selling driver training packages in their stores at-cost to encourage customers to take driver safety into their own hands,” he said.

About Budget Direct

Budget Direct is a cheap car insurance provider that offers competitive car insurance to drivers in Australia. Budget Direct is a wholly owned Australian insurance provider and is part of the international Budget Insurance group of companies headquartered in the British Isles. The Budget Insurance group of companies administers more than 3 million policies and $1 billion in premium. Auto & General Insurance Company Ltd underwrites Budget Direct’s policies.

To compare car insurance go to www.budgetdirect.com.au.

For further information or interviews please contact Jonathan Kerr, Director, Marketing & Digital, Budget Direct (Auto & General) at 07 3377 8801 or mediaenquiries@budgetdirect.com.au

Budget Direct was established as an insurance provider in Australia in 2000.  It is part of the international BHL Group of companies headquartered in the British Isles. The group provides more than 6.8 million policies to insurance customers and administers $2 billion in premiums annually. Budget Direct offers Motor, Home & Contents, Health, Life and Travel Insurance as well as Roadside Assistance.