24 Feb 2011

Government walking away from pedestrians

Australia’s leading independent vehicle safety advocate, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program, has criticised the Federal Government for its decision to walk away from its consideration of international pedestrian safety standards before the consultation period has even finished.

The Hon Catherine King MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Transport, yesterday directed her Department to withdraw the Regulation Impact Statement (‘RIS’) on pedestrian safety and shut down this consultation process.

ANCAP believes that the decision to withdraw the RIS and to unilaterally close down consultation on this important safety initiative is of serious concern.

ANCAP said the Government's decision was short-sighted, in that it has compromised the introduction of internationally recognised standards aimed at protecting pedestrians, apparently due to a misguided view that all bull bars protect drivers.

Over the last decade more than 230 pedestrians were killed each year as a result of collisions with motor vehicles.

ANCAP has been crash testing new cars for nearly 20 years and pedestrian safety tests are an integral component of ANCAP’s testing regime. The results are clear – modern vehicle design standards can considerably mitigate the risk to pedestrians in collisions with cars. The new proposed international standard would further mitigate this risk, but these potential benefits have been summarily dismissed by order of the Government.

ANCAP Chair, Lauchlan McIntosh, said "the decision to terminate the consultation process, while expressing a desire to ‘consult with interested parties’ made no sense at all."

"The Government should immediately withdraw its order to terminate the RIS process and continue its consultation process with industry experts and other interested parties. Only then will it be in a position to implement pedestrian safety initiatives which will save hundreds of lives", he said.

ANCAP is supported by all Australian and New Zealand motoring clubs, the Australian and New Zealand governments, all Australian state governments, the Victorian Transport Accident Commission, NRMA Insurance and the FIA Foundation.

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Rhianne Robson
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