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Automated driving key to cutting road toll

Road trauma in Australia and New Zealand could be significantly reduced by the adoption of rapidly developing technologies that change the way drivers use vehicles, new research completed by the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) has found.

The ‘Safety Benefits of Cooperative ITS and Automated Driving’ report, published and funded by Austroads, investigated the benefits of key Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) and automated driving applications.

Austroads Chief Executive, Nick Koukoulas said the “report draws on an in-depth examination of data to understand whether real-world serious injury crashes in Australia and New Zealand could have been prevented if technologies such as forward collision warning, curve speed warning, intersection movement assist, right turn assist, lane keeping assist and auto emergency braking were fitted in all light passenger vehicles”.

The report also estimated the potential annual savings to serious injuries Australia and New Zealand-wide. Road trauma is one of the highest ranking public health issues in both countries. Each year, crashes result in almost 1300 people killed and 35,500 hospitalised in Australia. In New Zealand, 319 people were killed and 12,270 injured in 2015.

“Australia’s road transport agencies see connected and automated driving as a key component of achieving road safety trauma reductions,” Mr Koukoulas said.

MUARC Senior Research Fellow Dr David Logan, a lead member of the study, noted significant benefits projected on the basis of the vehicle safety applications being introduced in all light passenger vehicles.   

“The full adoption among the light passenger vehicle fleet of a selection of key automated driving and connected vehicle safety applications has the potential to prevent between 4100 and 6500 fatal and serious injury crashes in Australia and 310-485 fatal and serious injury crashes in New Zealand each year,” he said.

C-ITS applications were found to have the potential to significantly reduce road crashes and injury consequences. The technology uses wireless communications to alert drivers, intervene in dangerous situations, reduce traffic congestion and increase system efficiency. 

According to the report, the full adoption of C-ITS could reduce 35-50 per cent of adjacent direction crashes at intersections by warning drivers when there is a high risk of colliding with another vehicle. Another substantial benefit of C-ITS was the ability to warn drivers of a potential collision with an oncoming vehicle. This application was projected to reduce opposing direction crashes by up to 40 per cent.

Automated driving applications showed similarly beneficial projections in reducing road trauma, decreasing the studied crash types by up to 50 per cent. These applications take over one or more aspects of vehicle control without driver intervention and can be found in many currently available vehicles.

The researchers believe it could take 25 years for the automated driving and C-ITS applications to fully penetrate the on-road fleet.

“Given the potential significant road trauma benefits, this report underlines the need to continue to invest in supporting physical and digital infrastructure, policy and trials to further understand what our future needs will be,” Mr Koukoulas said.

“Austroads’ member agencies are currently involved in a range of trials to further explore these issues,” he said.

Read the full report.


Very much doubt that selfdriving car(trucks or buses) will be a big factor on our roads for sometime (if ever). The technology is nowhere advanced enough that I would let a computer take over driving from me.

And as a motorcyclist are selfriding motorcycles or(pushbikes) the next step? Now that I'd like to see. I would suggest that TPTB would ban motorcycles and pushbikes once cars become autonomous.

Technology is going to kill us more than anything we can do ourselves, I am in to old performance cars, keeping it going means no wasted recycling, I actually drive the car, and even though its from the muscle car era, most 4 cylinder cars these days are faster (there is always a big play on power these days), all the so-called safety factors are just a bigger distraction and responsibility for drivers these days is how much they can sue for if a technological marvel fails.


Put more people back on bicycles, regulate the use of handheld devices in pedestrians and put a man with a red flag in front of ALL motor vehicles. We could eliminate accidents and road deaths overnight and boost the employment figures and the health of the general population at the same time.

Driver training is pathetic.

Driver assesment is woefull.

Driving rule enforcement is non existant.

Sort these three out and poor driving will reduce.


I hate the thought of self-drive cars --I don't even like diving an Automatics -- I prefer to drive a manual  -- I enjoy driving and I also dislike highways -- BORING AS

I recall an experiment recently in Denmark where they took all the roadsigns down and the accident and fatality rates went down!  We have become too obsessed with safety in this country, and there are just too many signs and restrictions to the flow of traffic out there.  These represent a constant distraction from driving to conditions and watching the road.  Speed limits are also too low on our open roads, and many fatalities occur because of drivers falling asleep - I know that from my own experience as I do a lot of driving with my work.  

I agree Franky,  the speed limits are far too low and now they want to drop them to 40 in places where they are now 50 -- and USED to be 60 -- it causes more accidents because of utter boredom and there are many roads -- highways that you can safely do 120. 


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