Road Safety Strategy
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The Safe System Approach

The Safe System approach adopts a holistic view of the road transport system and the interactions between people, vehicles, and the road environment.

It recognises that people will always make mistakes and may have road crashes – but those crashes should not result in death or serious injury.

The Safe System model is regarded as international best practice and is the framework for improving road safety across Australia. “Safe System” is the Australian terminology for a philosophy shared by different practices in many different nations. It is built on several key principles:

  1. People make predictable mistakes that can lead to road crashes
  2. The human body has a limited physical ability to tolerate crash forces before harm occurs
  3. A shared responsibility exists amongst those who plan, design, build, manage and use roads and vehicles to prevent crashes resulting in serious injury or death
  4. All parts of the system must be strengthened to multiply their effects; and if one part fails, road users are still protected

There are four overarching pillars under the Safe System approach that influence road safety outcomes. These are safe road infrastructure, safe vehicles, safe speed at which people travel and safe road user behaviour.