Road Safety Strategy
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Road user behaviour

Every person living in or visiting South Australia is a road user, whether they drive, ride, walk or are a passenger. Road user behaviour remains a significant contributing factor to road trauma.

Most people who use the roads in our State obey the road rules and use roads safely most of the time. To improve safety for the majority of road users who do not deliberately engage in dangerous behaviour we need to progress a whole-of-community road safety agenda that assists people to do the right thing. We also need to deliver targeted, evidence-based interventions to address dangerous behaviour given its impact on the community.

The licensing system contributes to road safety outcomes by ensuring drivers and riders have the necessary skills and experience for the class of vehicle they are driving, they are medically fit to drive, and that appropriate sanctions are applied to drivers who don’t comply with the road rules.

Licensing pathways for a motor vehicle, motorbike or heavy vehicle, include testing, training and minimum driving experience. Changes have been made to the graduated licensing schemes for motor vehicles and motorbikes to improve road safety outcomes for novice riders and drivers. Current licensing pathways for heavy vehicles do not adequately address safety as they require a driver to hold a class of licence for a minimum period of at least 12 months before they can progress, which does not guarantee that they gain any driving experience with no requirement to log driving hours in the 12 months.

Cultural change will be built over the life of the strategy, and requires ongoing engagement and collaboration with different sectors, including across state government, particularly with partner agencies which have regulatory and other functions that influence road safety outcomes, with local government, workplaces, organisations, community based organisations and the broader community. We will use a variety of communication channels to effectively embed communication reminders to reinforce road safety messaging.

Mass media campaigns, road safety education, training and partnerships with organisations that have a common goal will form part of the social model approach. Messages will be tailored to the audience and their local context and be culturally inclusive. Targeted communication campaigns, including coordinating mass media with enforcement activity (where enforcement messaging is used) and consistent messages are needed to address emerging and recurring road safety issues and build community understanding and support for road safety measures.

Road safety education

Best practice, context appropriate education and public awareness is required to educate road users and influence their behaviour. Research suggests that road safety education campaigns that focus on changing human behaviour are more effective if based on an appreciation of the factors that contribute to crashes, and why some people continue to behave in a manner that increases the likelihood of a crash or the severity of injury in the event of a crash.19 School based education programs also play an important role. Research indicates that many of the characteristics of programs that are effective at a community level mirror those that are effective in road safety education in schools.20

A young man leaning on his car holding a learners plate in his right hand

Dangerous road users

A small group of road users are at higher risk of being involved in a serious crash because of the dangerous behavioural choices they make, including: speeding, drink/drug driving, using a mobile phone while driving, failing to wear a seatbelt and driving unlicensed. Targeted strategies to address dangerous behaviours will be informed by research.

One way to target and reduce dangerous road use is through monitoring, detection and enforcement programs. Law enforcement programs targeting dangerous behaviour can provide a deterrent effect.

Intelligence-led targeted enforcement focusses on high risk violations and can reduce road crashes.

General high visibility enforcement by police is also an important approach. It can also help influence road user behaviour because observing enforcement taking place and observing others being detected for offending behaviour increases the perceived likelihood of being caught.

Automated enforcement solutions play a key role with fixed cameras, including point to point average speed cameras, providing deterrence at specific locations and along lengths of roadway. Mobile road safety cameras are temporarily deployed for short periods at high risk locations, creating a network-wide deterrence due to the perception they could be anywhere, at any time. Deterring speeding and red light running improves the safety of not only the vehicle passing the camera but also other road users, including cyclists and pedestrians. Advanced enforcement solutions such as cameras that detect illegal mobile phone use whilst driving are aimed at providing deterrence against driver distraction.

It will be important to continue to build our road policing capabilities, refine our enforcement and prevention activities and enhance road user education, training and public awareness. We will develop a coordinated approach between agencies on specific themes to provide a greater impact for the community.

Key strategies to support and enforce safer road user behaviour

  1. Co-ordinated enforcement and education campaigns to improve and maintain public understanding about the use of child restraints. Explore and address practical barriers to child restraint use;
  2. Test and trial new technologies that support enforcement and enhance general deterrence;
  3. Reduce driver and rider distraction through campaigns, education and advanced enforcement solutions, such as cameras that detect mobile phone use;
  4. Contribute to the development of road rules for driver distraction that apply regardless of the device, that are technology neutral;
  5. Better inform and educate the community about safe interaction with heavy vehicles;
  6. Examine heavy vehicle licensing pathways;
  7. Better data to inform what further actions are needed to target driver behaviours, with an initial focus on fatigue and distraction;
  8. Continue to implement effective infrastructure treatments such as audio tactile line marking, barriers and rest stops as well as monitor and promote technological advancements to reduce crashes where fatigue is a factor;
  9. Campaigns and road safety messaging targeted to risk behaviours, including fatigue;
  10. Further investigate the road user demographics, behavioural and attitudinal factors that contribute to non-seatbelt use; and then deliver coordinated education and enforcement programs to reduce the instance of non-use;
  11. Reduce drink and drug driving, through a range of measures, including public awareness and education, enforcement and compliance, and with a human centric approach. Collaboration is required across Government to address drug and alcohol dependency to improve road safety outcomes;
  12. Through education and cultural change, enforcement and compliance we will reduce lives lost and serious injuries associated with speeding and travelling at inappropriate speeds;
  13. Address the behaviour of drivers who repeatedly and persistently engage in dangerous driving behaviour. In addition to education and enforcement, collaboration will occur across Government to develop a broader societal approach. As these drivers are less likely to respond to traditional deterrence approaches, measures such as preventative health work or counselling will have a role; and
  14. Continue to deliver road safety education through schools and other organisations, including bike education.