ACRS Conference aims to put a brake on Australia’s rising road toll

With 120 people dying on Australia’s roads every month, the focus will be on reducing crashes and saving lives at the Australasian Road Safety Conference (ARSC2016) in Canberra from 6-8 September 2016.  

Around 600 experts and advocates from around the globe are meeting to share the latest in road safety research at the conference hosted by the Australasian College of Road Safety (ACRS)Austroads and The George Institute for Global Health.

Lauchlan McIntosh AM, President of the Australasian College of Road Safety, said ARSC2016 would focus on how to harness the latest research, technology and policy innovations to produce the best road trauma reduction outcomes possible.

Mr McIntosh said: “Australia’s current National Road Safety Strategy, signed by all Australian governments, aims to reduce the number of road deaths and trauma by 30 per cent between 2010 and 2020. But, over the last 12 months we have seen a 10 per cent rise in the number of people dying on Australian roads, with at least another 30,000 people seriously injured each year.  This increase is unexpected and of great concern.

Figure 1: National Snapshot July 2016
Australia’s progress against the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020

“It’s incredibly timely that this conference will help us investigate an increasing complexity across the road safety spectrum and determine factors that are of major importance in reversing this current trend.

“It is also vital that we ensure there is strong leadership and management to underpin our collaborative efforts – without this we are much less likely to succeed.”

Research highlights of the conference include:

  • A focus on the transition to semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles – will they make Australian roads any safer?
  • Is 40 the new 50? The case for a national reduction in the local road speed – Mark King, CARRS-Q.
  • MDT – Mobile Drug Testing: Using research to develop the first drug driving public education campaign in NSW – Louise Higgins-Whitton, Transport for NSW.
  • An evaluation of how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander driver licensing programs are helping reduce incarceration rates.
  • And the very latest research on automotive rail crossings, pedestrian dangers, driver distractions and heavy vehicle road safety.

Co-chair of the conference Professor Rebecca Ivers, from The George Institute for Global Health, said: “Road injury is one of the leading causes of death in people under 50 in Australia.  It is a major public health issue for those living in rural and remote areas and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

“The conference provides a prime opportunity to address the rising burden of road injury in Australia, and ensure we have targeted, appropriate programs. We also have major delegations to the conference from India and other countries across the Asian region and further afield, allowing significant opportunities for sharing of expertise and innovation” Prof Ivers added.

High-profile speakers include:

  • Dr Soames Job  – Global Road Safety Lead, World Bank (Washington DC)
  • Dr Mary Lydon – Chief Scientific Advisor, ARRB
  • Professor Mark Stevenson – Professor of Urban Transport and Public Health, University of Melbourne
  • Adrian Beresford-Wylie – Chief Executive Officer, Australian Local Government Association
  • Senator Katy Gallagher – Senator for the ACT
  • Marg Prendergast – Coordinator General, CBD, Transport for NSW

Photo opportunities:

This year, the Truckright B-Double will be on show to highlight safety around heavy vehicles and the SafeWheels Vehicle Safety Technology Simulator will provide delegates with a real life, virtual reality experience of the live-saving technologies of Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Predictive Emergency Braking Systems (PEBS) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW).

Further information:

Conference Website: