AN AUSTRALIAN Federal Parliamentary report on road safety indicates that there are many obstacles to a technological reduction in the national road toll.
Driving Reform: Road Safety Inquiry Final Report details the causes of fatal and serious road traffic collisions in Australia and incorporates suggestions on how to effectively reduce the likelihood of such incidents happening again.
The report was compiled with the help of safety organizations such as the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia (HFESA), the Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF) and the Monash University’s Accident Research Center (MUARC).
It makes recommendations regarding road user education, law enforcement, state and government funding, intergovernmental cooperation, licensing requirements, and affordability of in-vehicle safety technologies.
Submissions to the committee responsible for the report suggested poor road planning, insufficient or outdated cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, substandard road maintenance programs – especially in regional areas – and driver complacency due to technology were the major contributors to the increase in road tolls in the country.
The report acknowledged the safety and driver assistance technologies offered in newer vehicles and commended the work of some safety organizations to mandate the systems in certain vehicle classes.
However, he said such strategies were of little benefit to low-income road users (who tend to drive older vehicles) and those in remote areas, where incompatible road infrastructure negated several benefits of such systems.
To this end, the report calls for subsidies to be offered to motorists in such circumstances.
He also acknowledged that many owners of vehicles equipped with potentially life-saving safety and driver assistance technologies either did not understand how the systems work or had become too dependent on the technologies.
The report warns that advanced driver assistance and autonomous driving systems can lead to driver complacency, with the HFESA saying many drivers place unrealistic expectations on the technologies.
HFESA’s communication was reiterated by ANCAP, which said some automated systems could cause people to disengage from the driving process, adding that such technologies should work to keep drivers engaged and, above all, , that they should be educated on how these systems were related. to react to critical moments.
ARSF went further, saying that technology training would be especially beneficial for drivers who had acquired their license long before the advent of active safety systems. She also proposed that the terminology relating to these technologies be standardized.
In addition, MUARC raised concerns regarding the capacity of telecommunications infrastructure in the context of connected autonomous vehicles and the maintenance and improvement of existing road infrastructure such as markings and traffic signs.
While acknowledging the potential limitations due to the vastness of Australia’s road network, he said that since all existing active driver assistance and safety technologies depended in some way on this infrastructure, roads needed to be maintained to the highest possible standards to ensure that the vehicle technologies would perform optimally.