As a step towards realising Australia's long-term road safety vision, the strategy has set the following casualty reduction targets to be achieved by the end of 2020:

  • to reduce the annual number of road crash fatalities by at least 30 per cent
  • to reduce the annual number of serious road crash injuries by at least 30 per cent.

These target reductions are relative to the average numbers of fatalities and serious injuries in the baseline period 2008–2010.

Under the previous National Road Safety Strategy (2001–2010), a target was set to reduce the annual rate of road fatalities per 100,000 population by 40 per cent. This was approximately equivalent to a 30 per cent reduction in the absolute number of fatalities. The actual reduction achieved in absolute numbers was 24 per cent.

While the previous strategy set a target for fatalities only, this strategy gives greater attention to the serious injury dimension of the road trauma problem. There is currently no reliable national collection of serious injury crash data, largely because of jurisdictional differences in injury definitions and reporting arrangements. As a matter of priority, road transport agencies are working towards the adoption of nationally consistent road crash classification definitions and an improved national serious injury database. This will be essential for effective monitoring of progress towards the serious injury target.

To assist the target-setting process for the strategy, data modelling was carried out by the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC). This work was informed by a review of Australian and overseas research on the effectiveness of a number of road safety interventions. The main purpose of the modelling was to estimate the level of serious casualty reduction that could be achieved during the life of this strategy and to indicate at a very broad level what kind of action would be required to bring this about.

The modelling was only one input into the target setting. The targets set for this strategy are intended to strike a balance—reflecting the evidence about what can realistically be achieved in the next ten years, but also presenting a significant challenge that will require commitment and innovation.