Possibility of adapting some road safety measures successfully applied inVictoria to South Australia

Monash University Accident Research Centre - Report #102 - 1996

Authors: Peter Vulcan, Max Cameron, Narelle Mullan & David Dyte

Full report in .pdf format [2.8MB]

Abstract:

In Victoria, during the period 1989 to 1992 there was a reduction of 49% in fatalities and nearly 40% in persons admitted to hospital. These reductions have generally been maintained through to 1995. The fatality rate in Victoria has averaged approximately 23% below that in South Australia since 1990, while during the previous 20 years, the South Australian rate was below the Victorian rate about half the time. Hence it is considered feasible for South Australia to further reduce road trauma, possibly by adapting to its own environment some of the measures which were found to be successful in Victoria.

An analysis has shown that in addition to a downturn in the economy, the two factors which have contributed most to the reduction in road deaths and injuries in Victoria were increased enforcement supported by major publicity directed at drink-driving and excessive speeding.

This study has examined current practice and future plans in South Australia in relation to drink-driving and speed enforcement to identify any aspects where adaptation of the Victorian experience may be appropriate to further reduce road trauma. Ten recommendations have been made, which if implemented are expected to result in further reductions in road trauma, with the benefits considerably greater than the implementation costs.

Executive Summary

In Victoria, during the period 1989 to 1992 there was a reduction of 49% in fatalities and nearly 40% in persons admitted to hospital. These reductions have generally been maintained through to 1995. The fatality rate in Victoria has averaged approximately 23% below that in South Australia since 1990, while during the previous 20 years, the South Australian rate was below the Victorian rate about half the time. Hence it is considered feasible for South Australia to further reduce road trauma, possibly by adapting to its own environment some of the measures which were found to be successful in Victoria.

An analysis has shown that in addition to a downturn in the economy, the two factors which have contributed most to the reduction in road deaths and injuries in Victoria were:

  • increased RBT using high visibility "booze buses", supported by massive publicity;
  • progressive introduction of 54 new speed cameras, supported by publicity.

This study has examined current practice and future plans in South Australia in relation to drink-driving and speed enforcement to identify any aspects where adaptation of the Victorian experience may be appropriate to further reduce road trauma.

The following recommendations are made:

  1. That the development of action plans for the implementation of "Road Safety S.A." now be undertaken as an important next step.
  2. That consideration be given to extending the demerit points system to speed camera offences because of its likely deterrent effect, particularly for habitual offenders.
  3. That South Australia considers a change in the method of operation which would not require speed cameras to be visible, while maintaining the current relatively high level of TINs issued for speeding offences detected by cameras.
  4. That an evaluation be undertaken of the effect on casualty crashes of the South Australian laser speed detector initiative, where every speed offender is to be breath tested.
  5. That all possible efforts be made to increase the number of random breath tests in Adelaide to about double present levels, preferably by increased use of highly visible bus based testing.
  6. That random breath testing outside Adelaide be increased and supported by appropriate publicity in accordance with the rural safety strategy currently being developed in South Australia.
  7. It is recommended that use continue to be made of the high quality data available at both the Office of Road Safety and the Traffic Intelligence Section to plan and monitor that RBT operations are undertaken at times which reflect the incidence of alcohol related crashes.
  8. That resources be allocated to double the exposure of television advertisements, which support the speed camera and random breath testing programs.
  9. hat research be undertaken to investigate the relative effectiveness of a TAC style advertisement (graphic and highly emotive), which supports speed camera or RBT enforcement and an existing South Australian advertisement, when exposed at approximately the same levels, say 800 TARPs per month, under similar conditions of enforcement.
  10. That the development of advertisements in South Australia be based on testing and re-testing of a range of concepts with members of the target groups, through group discussion research to ensure that messages are relevant to them and that they are positively received.

It is expected that implementation of these recommendations is likely to result in further reductions in road trauma, with the benefits considerably greater than the implementation costs.

Sponsoring Organisations: Enforcement Strategies Working Party of the South Australian Road Safety Consultative Council through the Office of Road Safety, Department of Transport, South Australia