UN Global Road Safety Week commenced yesterday with the Australian National Road Safety Week launch in Adelaide themed Lead the Way, Drive So Others Survive and calling for 3-star or better road infrastructure.

Across Australia, the country’s favourite buildings, bridges and icons will light up yellow every night this Week from 16 – 23 May in remembrance of the 1,200 lives lost, and more than 44,000 people seriously injured on Australia’s roads each year.

Created by Peter Frazer of the Safer Australian Roads and Highways (SARAH) Group after his 23-year-old daughter was tragically killed in a car crash, the Week – which is supported by the Commonwealth, State, Territory and Local Governments as well as key road safety organisations and corporate partners – uses several activities to ask all road users to become road safety warriors and think about how they can actively protect all those who are vulnerable on the road ahead.

Peter Frazer said: “I am proud that we have been able to create this week-long focus on preventing death and serious injury on our roads and I am so grateful for each organisation that gets behind our campaigns because like us, they recognise that everyone has a right to get home safe to their loved ones, every day, with no exceptions.

“Unfortunately, despite our best efforts more than 11,000 Australians have been killed and over 360,000 seriously injured since my beautiful daughter Sarah was killed in February 2012. It is simply not acceptable that these tragedies are seen as regrettable but normal situations. As these crashes are avoidable, we need to do more to ensure they do not happen and where they do occur, the outcomes must not be so serious as to maim or kill innocent people.

“Our ‘Drive So Others Survive!’ theme asks everyone on the road to monitor their own behaviours and ensure the safety of all people on the road ahead, especially vulnerable road users. So, we are asking the Australian community to step up and become ‘Road Safety Warriors’ who not only make the safety of others their priority but also their influence their family, friends and work colleagues to do the same.

“While we must build our road systems to keep us moving, they must also be designed to protect us at every turn. Our infrastructure and our road rules need to be designed to ensure that all road users get home safe, and just as important, we need a significant cultural change from drivers and riders to commit to actively protect all those on the road ahead. By working together, we can get everyone home safe to their loved ones, every day, with no exceptions!”

Launched nationally by the Hon Vincent Tarzia MP, Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services in South Australia, National Road Safety Week will see hundreds of initiatives across the country encouraging Australians to commit to get everyone on the roads home safely.

The launch event included:

  • Statement from Australia’s Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC
  • United Nations Special Envoy for Road Safety, Mr Jean Todt
  • Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, The Hon Michael McCormack MP
  • President, SARAH Group, Mr Peter Frazer
  • Road crash victim and Metropolitan Fire Service RAP speaker, Yudhi Mohan-Ram
  • Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport, The Hon Scott Buchholz MP
  • Department of Infrastructure and Transport (SA) Chief Executive, Mr Tony Braxton-Smith
  • South Australian National Football League (SANFL) CEO, Mr Darren Chandler
  • Minister for Road Safety, The Hon Vincent Tarzia MP

Australia’s Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley said, “Road trauma and the loss of life as a result of road crashes are avoidable.”

Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, The Hon Michael McCormack MP shared his own experience as a journalist covering fatal crashes in the Riverina, as well as details of the government’s initial A$2 billion investment in safer roads and most recent A$1 billion additional budget commitment by the Treasurer.

President, SARAH Group, Mr Peter Frazer called for all state and local agencies to continue to invest in 3-star or better roads.

Road crash victim and Metropolitan Fire Service RAP speaker, Yudhi Mohan-Ram said, “Broken bones heal but emotional scars never leave you.”

Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport, The Hon Scott Buchholz MP said, “1,200 lives lost on Australian roads is appalling, and avoidable. When we make infrastructure investments like the A$3 billion road safety fund and put in medians and safer roadsides we save lives. There is no name for when a parent loses a child. It just shouldn’t happen.”

South Australian National Football League CEO, Mr Darren Chandler said SANFL has road safety ambassadors in place at every club. Everyone knows each other and road trauma touches a community and club in a way I wouldn’t wish on anyone.”

There are many ways Australians can participate in the Week, and local events can be found on the National Road Safety Week Website.

For information on other UN Global Road Safety Week events occurring around the world, click here.

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