Mike Stevens | May 11, 2011

The United Nations launched its Decade Of Action For Road Safety campaign this week, and Australia's governments and motoring organisations have been quick to adopt the message.

The aim of the ten-year campaign is to reduce the global road toll. It calls on UN member nations to take greater action in improving road safety management, post-crash response, vehicle safety, motorist behaviour and education.

According to the UN, one person is killed or seriously injured on the world's roads every six seconds, with around 3500 fatalities each day.

For young people, road trauma is the global number one cause of death for those aged between 18 and 25.

In Queensland, the RACQ is pushing for State and Federal governments to upgrade the Bruce and Warrego highways - two roads that went virtually unnoticed in this week's 2011 Federal Budget.

“This was an opportunity to make a strong commitment to improving these major arterial highways which are the lifeblood of communities and vital for our tourism, agricultural and mining industries," RACQ’s General Manager External Relations, Paul Turner said.

"This budget is a case of an opportunity lost when it comes to flood-proofing our highways."

RACQ CEO Ian Gillespie said that Queensland's road toll has fallen considerably over the past 30 years, but that with 249 fatalities last year, state and federal action is still desperately needed.

In Victoria, VicRoads' James Holgate said the state has long committed to helping developing nations implement modern road safety programs.

“In Vietnam, VicRoads is designing, developing and supporting the implementation of a computerised national road traffic accident system. The system will provide the tools and information necessary to make data-led decisions to reduce the impact of road trauma in Vietnam,” Mr Holgate said.

“VicRoads, with the assistance of Victoria Police, is also working with Vietnam’s National Transport Safety Committee (NTSC) in implementing road safety awareness campaigns in conjunction with Traffic Police enforcement."

Locally, the Transport Accident Commission remains focused on changing driver attitudes over the next decade.

“We believe that if speeding becomes socially unacceptable we will be able to substantially reduce road deaths and injuries,” TAC Senior Manager of Road Safety, Phil Reed said.

“Our research shows that drink-driving and not wearing a seatbelt is widely regarded as socially unacceptable, but we have got some work to do when it comes to speeding."

In New South Wales, one of the bigger winners in a largely disappointing Federal Budget for motorists, $2.2 billion will be spent on improving the state's black spots and a congested rail network - getting more heavy trucks off the road.

"In NSW alone, road accidents kill 450 people and cost the economy around $5 billion every year, so the extra funding is also a sound investment," University of New South Wales Chair of Road Safety, Professor Grzebieta said.

The UN Decade for Road Safety 2011 - 2020 launches this week in Canberra and Sydney as well is in most major cities across the globe.

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