Advocating change

National Road Safety Week

Highlighting the tragic impact of road trauma and the ways we can all work to reduce it.

Tasmania will take centre stage in road safety during 2024, being the host state for National Road Safety Week in May and convening the Australasian Road Safety Conference in October.

It comes at a time when every jurisdiction grapples with the challenge of reducing the number of people being killed on our roads or suffering lifelong injury as a result of road trauma.

Over the past 50 years we have made significant progress in reducing road trauma in Tasmania. Our road toll peaked in 1971, when 131 people were killed on our state’s roads. At that time Tasmania’s population was 390,000, and the rate of road deaths per 100,000 population was upward of 33.

"131 people were killed in 1971 on our state's roads".

A number of key road safety measures have had a profound and sustained impact on making travelling on our roads safer. The compulsory wearing of seatbelts, lower blood alcohol limits coupled with random breath testing, and speed cameras have been road safety game changers. Bicycle helmet laws, 50km/h on urban streets and improved licensing arrangements for new drivers have also been important for improved road safety performance. And cars have become a whole lot safer too.

Today our road toll stands at around 30 people killed and a further 300 being seriously injured. Our rate of death per 100,000 population is around 6.5. These improvements have been made despite a fivefold increase in the number of vehicles on our roads.

But there’s still much work to do, especially if we’re going to achieve our short-term target to reduce the number of serious injuries and fatalities on Tasmanian roads each year to fewer than 200 by 2026.

Now in its 11th year, National Road Safety Week is an initiative of the Safer Australian Roads and Highways (SARAH) Group. In February 2012, 23-yearold Sarah Frazer was on her way to begin university south of Sydney when her car broke down. After pulling into the emergency breakdown lane Sarah called for assistance. As the tow-truck driver was hooking up her car, a truck sideswiped the broken-down car, killing the pair immediately.

The SARAH group was created following this tragedy by Sarah’s father Peter Frazer, with the aim of increasing awareness of the impact of traffic death and injury, and to ask Australian drivers to take responsibility for safer driving: “Drive so others survive.”

National Road Safety Week is a collaboration between SARAH, businesses, governments, non-profit organisations, and stakeholders within the heavy vehicle and logistics industry. Running 5–12 May, it has a road safety theme for each day to highlight the tragic impact of road trauma and the ways we can all work to reduce it. Landmarks around the country will be lit up yellow to raise awareness of the devastating impacts of road trauma on our community. Look out for activities that you can become involved in as part of the week.

In October more than 600 delegates are expected to head to Tasmania for the Australasian Road Safety Conference in Hobart. The conference, running 30 September– 3 October, is facilitated by the Australasian College of Road Safety (ACRS) with the support of the Tasmanian Government, the MAIB, and the Road Safety Advisory Council.

Follow these links for more information on National Road Safety Week and the SARAH group.