Without reliable data on the performance of road furniture, traffic flows, crash sites, road maintenance & repairs and more, the real cost of roads cannot be accurately calculated nor can cost-effective planning be undertaken.
Reliable data, on road furniture, driver distractions, motorcycles & scooters and too many other things, is a scarce commodity in this state. The problem is well documented in Parliamentary Inquiries are regularly held by Road Safety Committees that include representatives from all political parties. The data problem is widespread. It is systemic.
Submissions to improve road data either fall on deaf ears or the organisation/person making an unwelcome submission is vilified and deemed to have a bad attitude.
2005. CRASHES INVOLVING ROADSIDE OBJECTS
“EXECUTIVE SUMMARY. Crashes involving roadside objects are a major road safety problem in Victoria, accounting for almost one-fifth of all crashes resulting in an injury or a fatality. ... The Committee noted a number of areas where crash information was missing or could be more detailed. The difficulty obtaining adequate data, in particular travel exposure information to better assess crash risk and target safety treatments, is a continuing issue in Victoria, coming up time and time again in Committee inquiries. Governments agree to improve crash information, yet crash and crash risk information continues to be an impediment to the improvement of roadside safetyin Victoria. Crash information recording and publications need to be greatly improved. ... The Committee observed that there was no systemic approach or strategic plan to comprehensively address the problem of crashes involving roadside objects.”
2006. DRIVER DISTRACTION
“CHAIR’S FOREWORD. ... One of the problems faced by the Committee during the Inquiry was the lack of clear definition and information systems which measure distraction and its’ role in crashes. The Committee calls on Victorioan road safety authorities to develop clear definitions, categories and suitable crash data reporting in order to understand the extent of the problems and to develop appropriate countermeasures. ...”
“EXECUTIVE SUMMARY. ... In view of the lack of suitable definitions,categorisations and suitable data, Victoria and most other Australian jurisdictions are not well placed to accurately assess the role of driver distraction on crashes. Recent studies in the United States, together with an ongoing study by the New Zealand Ministry opf Transport, provide some insights into driver distraction impacts. Development of comprehensive crash data is a vital first step in guiding future Victorian road safety initiatives relating to driver distractions.
2012. INQUIRY INTO MOTOERCYCLE SAFETY
“EXECUTIVE SUMMARY. ... The first, and arguablymost important theme was the lack of accurate and robust data, both for crashes and trauma. Many arguments, peroposals and observations made in submissions and witness statements were based or justified on crash and trauma data. However, the significant data issues identified by the Committee meant much of trhe evidence presented to the Committee was difficult to verify. ... Addressing data issues is the single most critical aspect of our future response to motorcycle safety. ...
RECOMMENDATION 1. That an independent Office of road safety data be created which will be responsible for collecting, collating, interpreting and publishing all data relevant to road safety ...”
On Monday, May 16, 2016, Assistant Commissioner (police) Doug Fryer was quoted in the Melbourne Herald Sun. He was taking about the 28 motorcycle & scooter rider deaths to that date in 2016. “... Every one (death) has been investigated thoroughly and 86% were rider error. ...” The Independent Riders Group does not agree that each of these deaths was thoroughly investigated and the 86% figure is impossible. We have written to AC Fryer twice asking how police calculated this extraordinary statistic.
Neither the email dated May 18, 2016 nor the letter dated August 5 answers our legitimate questions.
The issue of road safety data and unreliable statistics is raised here to highlight our opinion that road maintenance budgets are unreliable and that funds are spent on “showcase” projects while secondary roads are allowed to decline to unsafe conditions.
Example: The Lancefield / Sunbury road.
Example: The Great Alpine Road.
The decline of roads generally, and secondary roads in particular, increases commodity prices, tourism income, commuters, insurers and the cost to the community of road trauma.