Hon Rob Johnson JP MLA

Hon Rob Johnson JP MLA

Former Minister for Police; Road Safety

    Historic funding boost for road safety in WA

    13/05/2012 12:00 AM
     
    • RTTA funding boost to upgrade metro intersections and regional roads
    • New concept cars for every police district in WA
    • WA to become the first jurisdiction in the world to trial new concept motorbikes
    • Drug testing of drivers to increase by 125 per cent
    • One million motorists to be breath tested annually
    • More than 64,000 hours of additional enforcement on WA roads
    The State Government has today unveiled an $87.7million funding package to implement significant road safety measures across Western Australia.

    Road Safety Minister Rob Johnson said the Government had carefully considered recommendations from the Road Safety Council to develop the package, which focused on metropolitan and regional road upgrades, drink and drug driving and police enforcement.

    Mr Johnson said this was the first year the Road Trauma Trust Account (RTTA) had been boosted to such a record high level, thanks to the Liberal-National Government’s decision to transfer two-thirds of all speed camera revenue to the fund in 2011-12, increasing to 100 per cent from July 1 this year.

    “We now have the potential to save many more lives and prevent hundreds of people from critical injuries thanks to this funding boost,” he said.

    “A key aim will be to make our roads safer with upgrades to metropolitan intersections and roadside safety improvements to regional roads in line with our 12-year Towards Zero road safety strategy.

    “There will be a significant expansion of police enforcement activities, particularly with the allocation of two concept cars to each of the 14 police districts across metropolitan and regional WA. These cars are the most advanced police vehicles of their kind in the world and have attracted the interest of international policing units such as the Los Angeles Police Department.

    “WA will become the first jurisdiction in the world to trial two new concept motorbikes, which will enable police to identify speeding motorists, stolen vehicles, unlicensed drivers and persons of interest.

    “We will also be providing 20 extra police officers and funding for additional policing hours to significantly expand breath testing operations to assist police in reaching a target of one million tests in 2012-13.

    “In total, there will be a massive increase of 64,000 hours of additional traffic enforcement across the State in 2012-13, which will go a long way in saving lives and reducing serious injuries on WA roads.”

    Funding highlights in the 2012-13 RTTA budget include:
    • $21.6million for safety upgrades to metropolitan intersections
    • $20.1million for regional and remote road and roadside safety improvements
    • $11.4million to reduce impaired driving including 48 new concept cars; two concept motorbikes; expanded breath and drug testing; 20 additional drug testing machines; and 20 additional officers to conduct testing, equating to an additional 36,800 hours of enforcement. Community education to reduce drink and drug driving
    • $17.9million to reduce speeding, including 27,500 hours of additional traffic enforcement; additional school crossing zone lights; and community education
    • $3.4million on improving vehicle safety; crash testing; and a study of motorcycle crashes and roadside crash barriers
    • $11.6million on community initiatives such as establishing a road trauma support service, neurotrauma research, local government programs (Roadwise), school education (Road Aware).
          Fact File
    • WA and Queensland are the only States to place 100 per cent of speed camera revenue into a dedicated road safety account
    • Full list of funding highlights is below
    Minister's office - 6552 5900
     

    2012-13 Road Trauma Trust Account Budget highlights

    1. Metropolitan Intersection Crashes ($21.7million or 25 per cent of the 2012-13 budget)
     
    A total of $21.6million has been allocated for safety upgrades to metropolitan intersections.
     
    Each year, a fatal or serious injury crash occurs at approximately 470 intersections.
     
    The safety performance at intersections will be improved through measures such as the implementation of roundabouts, full control right turn traffic signals and measures to manage speeds at intersections.
     
    The budget includes funding for Main Roads Western Australia (MRWA) and local governments to address priority intersections. Proposed sites to be upgraded include:
    • Reid Highway and Malaga Drive - City of Swan: Improve intersection geometry, install mast arms and red light cameras
    • South Street and Kwinana Freeway (south bound off ramp) - City of Melville: Install mast arm, upgrade signals to LED and install red light cameras
    • Reid Highway and Mitchell Freeway (south bound off ramp) - City of Stirling: Improve intersection geometry and lane allocation and upgrade pedestrian facilities
    • Ennis Avenue, Elanora Drive and Grange Drive - City of Rockingham: Install mast arms, upgrade signals to LED and improve pedestrian facilities
    • South Street and Findlay Road - City of Melville: Improve intersection geometry and trial Enhanced Intersection Warning system
    • Albany Highway and Liege Street, City of Canning: Improve intersection geometry, pedestrian facilities and signal phasing, install mast arms and red light cameras.
    The scope of the above works may be altered during the planning process.
     
    An additional $100,000 has been allocated for a cyclist safety study.

    2. Run-off Crashes on Regional Roads ($21.6million or 25 per cent of the 2012-13 budget)
     
    In 2012-13, it is proposed that around 25 per cent of the RTTA will be expended in supporting Main Roads WA and local governments in installing roadside safety treatments to help reduce run-off crashes on regional roads. A total of $20million will be spent on roadside safety treatments such as audible edge lines, roadside protective barriers, shoulder sealing and enhanced signage on regional highways and main roads that have above average run-off road crash risk on a priority safety basis. Main Roads WA is currently identifying roads to be included in these works.
     
    An additional $100,000 has been allocated for planning future works to improve roadside safety on local government managed regional roads.
     
    Community education initiatives on the dangers of fatigue and distracted driving related to run off the road crashes will receive $1.27million.

    3. Impaired Driving Crashes ($11.4million or 13 per cent of the 2012-13 budget)
     
    To address the unacceptable level of death and serious injury resulting from crashes involving impaired drivers and riders, funding has been allocated through the RTTA to support WA Police in their efforts to deter and detect drivers affected by alcohol and drugs.
     
    A total of $4million will be spent to significantly enhance the existing level of drink and drug enforcement, including an increase in the number of breath and drug tests per year. The funding will provide an additional 20 police officers to support breath and drug testing activities, equating to an additional 36,800 hours per annum into traffic enforcement, which will assist WA Police to reach an estimated target of one million breath tests in 2012-13.
     
    An additional $900,000 will be spent to expand drug testing capabilities, including the purchase of 20 additional drug testing machines. WA Police will now have a total of 30 testing machines, which will allow them to conduct 19,000 preliminary oral fluid tests per year, a massive 125 per cent increase on current testing levels.
     
    The increase in highly visible random breath and drug testing is expected to gradually change road user behaviour and lead to a decrease in the detection of alcohol and/or illicit drugs used by drivers involved in serious or fatal crashes.
     
    WA Police will also receive $3.5million to update 48 of their vehicles with advanced technology that will read vehicle number plates and will result in every vehicle being read an average of six times per year. This will enable WA Police to target speeding motorists, as well as people with a history of drink and drug driving and drivers who are unlicensed.
     
    WA Police will now have a total of 49 concept cars. The Traffic Enforcement Group will have 21 of these cars, and two vehicles will be provided to each of the following 14 police districts:
    • Central Metro
    • East Metro
    • North West Metro
    • Peel District
    • South East Metro
    • South Metro
    • West Metro
    • Great Southern
    • Goldfields-Esperance
    • Kimberley
    • Mid West-Gascoyne
    • Pilbara
    • South West
    • Wheatbelt.

    The Concept Car incorporates the following functionality:

    • Four-way Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) from the vehicle
    • In-car video and transmission system
    • Integrated computer based speed detection system
    • Access to all police tactical and business information systems
    • Improved multi-application interfaces, including voice management
    • Improved vehicle power management devices and systems
    • High visibility vehicle marking
    • Breath testing equipment.
    The ANPR will result in many more inquiries against registration plates than are possible manually. During the past 12 months the trial concept car has regularly checked 1,000-1,200 vehicles per hour, a significant increase over the 250-300 per day performed by manual in-car computers. It is estimated every vehicle in WA will be ‘read’ an average of six times a year once the 49 cars are on the road. This will allow police to use GPS plotted intelligence data in order to identify single and repeat offenders, crime hot spots and offence time trends.
     
    The concept car has a text-to-speech capability that allows for a voice to alert the driver to a stolen vehicle, person of interest, unregistered vehicle or driver and a range of other alerts.
     
    Western Australia will become the first jurisdiction in the world to trial two concept motorbikes, with similar capabilities as the concept car. The motorbikes have the potential to identify speeding motorists, as well as stolen vehicles and persons of interest through Bluetooth and possibly Wi-Fi transmission through the rider’s helmet. Like the concept car, the motorbikes will have video capture and transmission of officer engagements with the public, not only improving officer safety but also enhancing the availability of evidence to the judiciary. All police motorbikes are also equipped with breath testing equipment.
     
    The budget also includes funding for community education campaigns focusing on drink and drug driving in support of the enhanced traffic enforcement.

    4. Excess and Inappropriate Speed Crashes ($17.9million or 20 per cent of the 2012-13 budget)
     
    Main Roads WA will receive $2.5million to install electronic school zone signs to decrease vehicle speed near 60 schools. Locations are currently being finalised.
     
    Main Roads will also receive $650,000 to test the feasibility of traffic safety management cameras at a small number of trial sites in WA. 
     
    WA Police will receive $2.18million for the Strategic Traffic Enforcement Project, which will enable WA Police to purchase additional effort from police officers through overtime to perform additional traffic operation duties. This will equate to approximately 27,500 hours of additional effort into traffic enforcement.
     
    A community education campaign in support of the speeding program will also be funded.
     
    5. Vehicle Safety, Unprotected Occupants and Users ($3.5million or 4 per cent of the 2012-13 budget)
     
    This budget includes funding for actions which will improve vehicle safety and increase restraint wearing for road users in Western Australia. This includes support of the Australian New Car Assessment Program and Used Car Safety Ratings consumer schemes, work to continually improve the vehicle safety of the government vehicle fleet, including light commercials, community education campaigns to encourage the purchase of safe vehicles and the use of restraints, and workplace road safety programs engaging public and private fleet owners with vehicle safety and road safety messages
     
    6. Inform and Mobilise Actions and Monitor and Report Results ($11.6million or 13 per cent of the 2012-13 budget)
     
    Funding under this budget will be spent on the collection and maintenance of road safety data, research into road safety problems and solutions, monitoring and reporting on road safety performance; sustained communication and promotion of road safety including community and school education; and co-ordination of the administration of the Road Safety Council and the Road Trauma Trust Account.
     
    In support of wider health outcomes, the Department of Health has been allocated $750,000 to establish a road trauma counselling service for victims of road accidents and their families. It is envisioned that the service will predominantly provide peer support, preventative education services, and appropriately-trained trauma and bereavement therapists for victims, their families and friends. A tender process will be initiated by the Department of Health to establish the service through a non-Government organisation.
     
    A total of $1.7million has been allocated to the Neurotrauma Research Program to fund further neurotrauma research, which is hoped will help spinal injury victims of road accidents and other causes in the future. This work is to be assessed by an independent scientific advisory committee endorsed by the Road Safety Council. 
     
    Local governments will receive $2.7million to enable them to continue the community involvement and road safety education provided by the Roadwise program state wide.
     
    The School Drug Education and Road Aware program (SDERA) will receive $1.25million to support road safety education in primary and secondary schools throughout the State.
     
    The Department of Health will receive $136,000 for the PARTY program to provide road safety education to secondary students through visiting the emergency trauma centre in hospital.