Paradigm shift essential to saving more lives on Australian roads

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10 Oct 2017

The 2017 Australasian Road Safety Conference has been told road safety leaders must act now to implement the actions necessary for a paradigm shift to a Safe System to achieve a sustainable saving in lives on Australian roads.
 
WA’s Acting Road Safety Commissioner Iain Cameron addressed the opening session of the three-day event in Perth, in his roles as Chair of the OECD/International Transport Forum Working Group on Implementing a Safe System and Trustee of the UK’s Towards Zero Foundation.
 
Mr Cameron said some people take risks, most people make mistakes that result in crashes:
 the Zero Road Deaths: Leading a Paradigm Shift to a Safe System report outlined four principles that can guide countries on their journey to a Safe System.
 
“A Safe System is a world leading, proactive practice that focusses on the outcome you’re trying to achieve, and that is that no person should be killed or seriously injured in a road crash,” said Mr Cameron.
 A Safe System is a world leading, proactive practice that focusses on the outcome you’re trying to achieve, and that is that no person should be killed or seriously injured in a road crash.
Mr Cameron said adopting this focus today will shift thinking and practice, opening up new possibilities to reduce road trauma.
 
“We know that some people take deliberate risks but most make mistakes that lead to road crashes, we know that the human body has a limited physical tolerance to crash forces, we know that there is a shared responsibility to prevent crashes that cause serious harm and that all parts of the safe system must be strengthened so if one part fails, users are still protected.
 
“People making a mistake are the cause of 70 per cent of serious crashes on our roads, so now we must ensure that policy makers and the community understand the value of the Safe System in saving lives on our roads and work to implement the approach.”
 
Western Australia was amongst the first to adopt this bold approach in its Towards Zero strategy.
 
“WA has made encouraging progress with a 28% reduction in the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads since the strategy commenced but there is much more to do,” said Mr Cameron.
WA has made encouraging progress with a 28% reduction in the number of people killed and seriously injured.
“We need to build community support for Safe System changes in vehicles, roads and roadsides and speeds in addition to our continuing focus on improving behaviour through education and enforcement, if we are to make sustainable changes towards a safe road transport system”.
 
As economic performance increases, there is often a corresponding increase in road trauma so we cannot be complacent.
 
The 2017 Australasian Road Safety Conference runs at Crown Perth until 12 October 2017.

NEWS & MEDIA LIAISON:

Claire Thomas

claire.thomas@rsc.wa.gov.au

0467 802 855

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