Our Program

WA Road Safety Research and Evaluation Program

The Road Safety Research and Evaluation Program includes:

  • Proactive and planned, through engagement with our locally based road safety research centre: Curtin-Monash Accident Research Centre (C-MARC).
  • Responsive to emerging issue and need, through engagement with additional research institutions and experts.
  • Ongoing, through memberships with other research agencies.

The Road Safety Research and Evaluation Program is informed by the Road Safety Research Review Committee (RSRRC), Chaired by the Commission’s Assistant Director Strategy and Policy. The RSRRC is a sub-committee to the Road Safety Council with representation from across government and community.



The RSRRC role is to provide strategic road safety advice from across the respective agencies in relation to future research. This enables the Commission to ensure that future research:

  • Aligns to whole of government priorities and thereby, is responsive to the current road safety issues and emerging trends relevant to WA.
  • Increases the road safety research base within WA.
  • Avoids duplication of research within WA.
  • Represents return on investment for WA.


Road Safety Research Review Committee members

Road Safety Commission
Melissa Watts


Melissa Watts has 25 years experience working for the Government developing social and public policy, as well as strategy. Melissa is currently the Assistant Director Strategy at the Road Safety Commission in WA. She is responsible for strategy and policy development, data intelligence gathering and analysis for road trauma and the road safety research and evaluation program. Melissa and her team will coordinate the development of the state’s next Road Safety Strategy on behalf of the Road Safety Council to follow on from Towards Zero. To that effect, the Road Safety Research Program that Melissa manages is integral to inform the future of road safety outcomes in Western Australia.


Road Safety Commission
Morgan Elderfield


Morgan Elderfield is the Road Safety Commission’s substantive Principal Policy Officer and provides operational support to the Road Safety Research and Evaluation Program as well as the Commission’s approach to road safety policy development, implementation and evaluation. Morgan has experience across the WA public and community sectors and is passionate about research. Morgan has a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the University of Wollongong. In 2018, Morgan completed a Master of Law, Policy and Government from the University of Western Australia. As part of her Masters, Morgan completed a qualitative research project into fatigue management within the WA commercial vehicle industry. This led Morgan to forge strong working relationships with key stakeholders throughout WA, Australia and within the United States of America, to which she continues to cherish and foster. From October 2018, Morgan will be on 12 months leave from the Commission, embarking upon an opportunity in the United States of America.


Road Safety Commission
Emma Hawkes


Emma is an acting Senior Policy Officer with a passion for road safety.  She has particular interests in Indigenous road safety, alcohol interlocks, safe riding gear and child car restraints.  Emma is one of the Commission representatives on the Vulnerable Road Users Advisory Group. 

Emma has a background in research, with a Ph.D. in medieval legal history from the University of Western Australia.  Her qualifications include a Diploma in Adult Education from Griffith University and a B.A. with honours in English and History from the University of Western Australia.  

Emma is committed to working collegially with Road Safety Council agencies to improve road safety in Western Australia. 


Main Roads Dept
Hayley Lajszczak


Hayley Lajszczakis the Road Safety Research and Evaluation Manager at Main Road Western Australia, supporting the organisation in undertaking research that translates to road design, policy and operational improvements in road user safety. Hayley is an economist and program manager with over 10 years combined experience in investment planning for large roads infrastructure projects and strategic innovation and research.


Road user representative
Jill Darby


Jill Darby is a passionate public heath advocate for a safer and better community. She holds positions as RAC Councillor; Club Board member with oversight of the RAC Mobility agenda; Deputy Road User member on the Road Safety Council and member of the Research Review Committee. She is a Public Health Lecturer in the School of Medical and Health Science at Edith Cowan University with strategy, leadership and research experiences including education, health promotion, workplace wellness and safety. She has worked across all levels of Government and NGO agencies contributing to the development of the current Towards Zero Road Safety Strategy 2008-2020. She is qualified with graduate studies in Education; Health Science; Masters in Public Health; Bachelor of Science and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


WA Police
Scott Higgins


Scott joined the WA Police in 1986 and served in a variety of local policing and specialist detectives’ roles across the Metropolitan area. His operational leadership roles include the position of Director of the State Intelligence Division before he was appointed District Officer of the South Metro Police District and Central Metro Police District. In addition to operational roles, Scott undertook the role of Principal of the WA Police Academy in 2013 and in 2015 acted as the Director of Human Resources for WA Police. In December 2016, Scott was appointed to the role of Commander of the State Traffic Command, responsible for traffic enforcement activities across the state. This role requires coordination of policing effort across a diverse road network with a variety of enforcement options, including breath and drug buses, speed cameras and highly visible car and motorcycle patrols. He completed the Monash University Accident Research Centre Leadership in Road Safety Management Program in 2017.


WA Police
Mal Shervill


Mal Shervill has been working at WALGA since February 2011 as the Policy Officer Road Safety. Mal has worked extensively with Local Governments on a variety of road safety related matters including speed and speed enforcement. Mal was involved in the implementation of the Local Government Speed Enforcement Program implemented in October 2012 based on research conducted by C-MARC. The Program provides Local Governments with a formal process to supply vehicle travel speed data for local roads where speeding is identified as a problem to the WA Police Force to inform road policing strategies.


Department of Health
Teresa Ballestas


Dr Teresa Ballestas is the Principal Medical Advisor, Public and Aboriginal Health Division, Department of Health.

Dr Ballestas has experience in the health sector both as a public health practitioner and a clinician.


Department of Education
Matthew Shields


Matt has over 15 years experience in an education context, creating success for all students, both nationally and internationally through teaching, learning area coordination, curriculum and resource development, including the delivery of student support programs to government and non-government schools. Matt is a member of the State Government’s primary strategy for drug and road safety education for young people School Drug Education Road Aware (SDERA) Management Committee. SDERA works with schools and the wider community to provide prevention education aimed at keeping young people safer.


Department of Transport
Rebecca Poduti