An Australian government-ordered inquiry into the national road safety strategy calls for a minimum A$3 billion ($2.15 billion) in annual funding and the rapid deployment and accelerated uptake of proven vehicle-safety technologies and innovation.
James Goodwin, CEO of the Australasian New Car Assessment Program, says that’s what the safety-testing group is trying to achieve.
“Our mandate is to eliminate road trauma through the testing and promotion of safer vehicles,” Goodwin says in a statement. “We are working hard to achieve this through influencing the design, specification and availability of new vehicle models with the latest safety features and technologies.”
“Objective performance testing of autonomous safety technologies is a key focus for ANCAP, and we will continue to raise the bar to ensure Australians are provided with the safest vehicles possible.”
A panel of four was convened to conduct the inquiry. Their report says more than 1,200 people are killed and at least 36,000 are hospitalized through traffic accidents annually in Australia.
Among its 12 recommendations are a target of zero road deaths by 2050, with an interim target of zero for all major capital-city business districts and high-volume highways by 2030.
Goodwin says an area that requires greater focus is the age of the vehicle fleet and its direct correlation to road fatalities.
“There are more than 2.7 million registered vehicles on our roads aged 15 years or older,” he says. “These vehicles are unlikely to be fitted with safety features that we now expect from new vehicles. So, not only do we need to focus attention to accelerate the uptake of new vehicles with the latest safety technologies – if tangible safety benefits are to be realized, we must implement ways and set targets to reduce the age of the fleet.”