Road Safety Plan

Someone is killed or hospitalised every


because of a crash on NSW roads

The Road Safety Plan 2021 features targeted and proven initiatives that will help us progress towards our road safety goals, addressing key trends, trauma risks and the types of crashes occurring on NSW roads.

Clear and ambitious targets have helped NSW achieve reductions in the road toll and everyone has a role to play.

NSW's road safety targets

Ambitious but achievable trauma reduction targets help to guide our investment – and reflect the NSW Government commitment to make NSW roads the safest in the country.


Reduce road fatalities by at least 30 per cent from 2008–2010 levels by 2021. This is our State Priority Target.


New road safety targets will be set every 10 years, and reviewed every five years, to make sure we continue to move Towards Zero fatalities and serious injuries on our roads.


NSW has set an aspirational target of zero fatalities and serious injuries on our roads by 2056.

The road trauma challenge in NSW

The NSW road network gives all of us access to work, school, friends, families and the services we need. For many, it’s a workplace, and for all, it’s a fundamental part of everyday life that keeps the economy moving.

But sadly, lives are lost, and people are seriously injured on our roads, every day. Each year, over two-thirds of fatalities in NSW happen on country roads.

More than 70 per cent of the people who die on country roads are country locals, and sadly males account for most of the fatalities. The fatality rate in country NSW is around 4 times the rate than in metropolitan NSW.

The majority of serious injuries resulting from road crashes happen in metropolitan areas. Unlike our long downward trend in fatalities, the number of serious injuries per year is not declining.

We know that behavioural factors in fatal crashes include speeding, tired drivers and riders, drink driving, seat belt non-usage, and illicit drugs being present.

People who walk or ride a bicycle or motorcycle are vulnerable in a crash as the unprotected body can only tolerate so much force.

We know that the design of your car makes a huge difference to your safety in a crash. Of those killed in cars on our roads, around 40 percent were in cars 15 years old or older compared to around 15 percent in cars less than 5 years old.

The Safe System

The Road Safety Plan 2021 adopts the internationally recognised Safe System approach, which is a holistic and proven approach that considers how people, vehicles, speeds and roads work together to create a safe system. The system acknowledges:

  • The human body has physical limits to withstanding the impact of a crash.
  • People sometimes make mistakes – but this shouldn’t cost anyone their life.
  • Roads, roadsides, travel speeds and vehicles need to be designed to help avoid a crash or reduce the impact of a crash if it happens.
  • Road safety is a shared responsibility. We all need to make decisions with safety in mind, from the design of our roads and vehicles, investment, laws and education, to each road user acting safely every day.


safe system diagram

Priority areas

Taking action to save lives, over the next five years the NSW Government will deliver across six priority areas.


Saving lives on country roads


Liveable and safe urban communities


Using the roads safely


Building a safer community culture


New and proven vehicle technology


Building a safe future

A strong evidence base

NSW has some of the most extensive and high quality information on road crashes in the world. This has been achieved through strong partnerships between agencies and means we now have a clearer understanding of the true extent of serious injuries than ever before.

Since the release of the NSW Road Safety Strategy 2012–2021, we have enhanced our dataset to include the incidence and detail of serious injuries on NSW roads, a previously hidden toll affecting over 12,000 people each year.

This quality data helps us understand and better respond to what is causing road trauma, so it is important that we continue to enhance data collection and supporting systems to increase our understanding.

To support the success of the Plan and delivery of initiatives, the NSW Government will continue to have an evolving and robust research program that includes:

  • Research into connected and emerging vehicle and infrastructure technology, telematics and other emerging vehicle applications.
  • Behavioural and policy reform research to support and inform priority initiatives and education. Areas include, but are not limited to, drink and drug driving, driver distraction and mobile phone use, speeding, fatigue, and workplace driving.
  • Trials of new and promising road and roadside safety products, such as barrier technology and signs, coupled with reviews of new and innovative road design approaches and safety programs internationally.
  • Program evaluation research to improve how we implement programs, ensuring they are delivering expected outcomes.
  • Safe system analysis of fatalities and serious injuries to help us understand all the reasons for why crashes have occurred and how our systems can prevent these.
  • Enhanced data collection, information systems and safety performance indicators and continue to make information available, including to local councils, research partners and the community.

Our key partners and the community

The Road Safety Plan 2021 was developed with our key partners and the community.

Achieving our aspirational goal of moving Towards Zero trauma will require ongoing, whole of government collaboration and support and action from businesses, road safety advocates and every member of the community. That’s why development of the Plan involved:

  • Ongoing consultation with the NSW Government’s Road Safety Advisory Council.
  • Review of best practice to identify key initiatives in partnership with road safety researchers, experts and practitioners.
  • Consultation with local council representatives, and the community through a series of community forums across NSW.
  • Release of the draft Plan for comment in conjunction with Future Transport.
  • Workshop with key Aboriginal stakeholders to identify issues and culturally appropriate actions.

We also surveyed over 2,800 people asking them which measures they felt were important to achieving our goal and vision.

In total, more than 4,000 people helped to develop the Plan, and a further 16,000 were engaged online.

Community Road Safety Fund

The Road Safety Plan 2021 builds on what has already been delivered through the Community Road Safety Fund.

Since the establishment of the Community Road Safety Fund in 2013, the NSW Government has delivered programs that are saving lives and preventing serious injuries. A snapshot of these programs include:

  • Graduated Licensing Scheme reforms
  • Public education campaigns
  • Safer Roads Program
  • New and used car safety ratings and vehicle research
  • Flashing lights at schools
  • Road safety education for children and young people
  • Enhanced police and speed camera enforcement
  • Towards Zero Strategy
  • Mandatory Alcohol Interlock Program
  • Road safety delivery through partnerships.


road with car