THE 2012-13 budget has allocated $300 million in new funding to extend the Federal Government's black spot program for a further five years until 2019 to make suburban streets and country roads safer.
According to a new assessment of the program being published alongside the budget, this latest investment can be expected to prevent more than 2000 accidents and the loss of 14 lives a year.
It will deliver a further 1200 projects and builds on the record $500 million already allocated to the program.
Safety improvements have been completed at 1425 sites around Australia, including constructing and upgrading 152 roundabouts, redesigning and rebuilding 277 dangerous intersections, erecting and improving 225 sets of traffic lights and installing new safety measures at 47 pedestrian crossings.
Projects funded, as well as the measures taken, are recommended by a panel of independent road safety experts. An important aspect of the program is that anyone can nominate a section of road they believe should be considered for a safety upgrade.
For some time anecdotal evidence has shown that relatively minor, inexpensive alternations to a dangerous stretch of road or notorious intersection can make a big safety difference.
Now independent research proves it, with roundabouts shown to be by far the most effective measure.
Following a detailed analysis of almost 1600 completed black spot projects, the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economic (BITRE) has estimated the measures funded during the Program's first seven years are today preventing over 4000 crashes and almost 30 road fatalities a year.
BITRE has also calculated that every $1 invested in the program reduces the cost of road trauma to the community by $7.70 over the longer term. A full copy of the research can be downloaded from: bitre.gov.au.