A Very Important Message from Australian Road Safety Foundation
22 Dec 2019
AUSTRALIAN ROAD SAFETY FOUNDATION - MEDIA RELEASE 10 DECEMBER 2019
‘TIS THE SEASON TO ACHIEVE A FATALITY FREE FESTIVE PERIOD
The Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF) has today joined forces with dignitaries and QLD Police to implore Australians to take responsibility for their part in preventing road trauma this Christmas.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Assistant Minister for Road Safety Scott Buchholz and Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey, joined the road safety authority with a powerful road toll installation.
Against the Brisbane CBD backdrop, nine Christmas trees lined the parkland at Wilson’s Outlook Reserve - each representing the lives of children aged 14 and under whose lives were horrifically lost on Australian roads throughout December 2018 and January 2019 period.
The nine trees were adorned with 217 yellow ribbons, as a memoriam of the total number of lives tragically cut short due to road fatalities over those two months.
The official road safety Christmas period runs for 12 days from 23 December. Last year, over this short time, a total of 41 lives were lost to road trauma. Queensland recorded the highest number of fatalities, with 13 lost lives accounting for almost one third of the nation’s road toll.
With this year’s road toll sitting at 1,012*, eight per cent higher than this time the year prior, there are countless more families across the nation preparing to face their first Christmas without their mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter this year.
Acting as a solemn reminder for all those using the road this festive season, ARSF founder and CEO Russell White said the nine decorated Christmas trees would hopefully encourage Australians to do everything in their power to save lives.
“Christmas should be a time of love and laughter, not loss of life, but tragically it’s also the most dangerous time on the road. End of year exhaustion, increased drivers on unfamiliar roads and a spike in drink and drug driving are the major factors, so we all need to take responsibility to ensure we are fit to drive, not distracted and taking extra caution,” Mr White said.
“It’s heartbreaking to think that for 217 more families, the holiday season will now forever be marred by the memory of losing someone precious to them. Of course no driver deliberately sets off looking for a crash, but every time someone speeds, drives tired or inhibited, or picks up their mobile phone, it increases the risk.
“People need to realise that the broader impact of road trauma goes beyond just the road toll - countless others are seriously, often permanently injured, families are torn apart and our first responders must carry with them the experience of these horrific scenes for the rest of their life.”
Chief Executive Officer of AAMI Insurance Gary Dransfield said the company was proud to support the Australian Road Safety Foundation on this important campaign.
“We are committed to tackling road safety and working together with Australian Road Safety Foundation to get the safe driving message out to more Australians. We know through our claims experience that road related accidents can happen, but many of them are avoidable. Our teams are always there to support our customers in their time of need, but over Christmas we hope that it won’t be a busy time for them,” Mr Dransfield said.
“Everyone has a part to play when it comes to reducing the road toll. We hope this campaign and installation featured here today is a wake-up call for Australian drivers and helps make our roads safer this Christmas.”
The ARSF and advocate partners hope that today’s installation will remind road users of the personal responsibility we have in ensuring that we are fit to drive, not distracted and taking caution so that Christmas can be a time of love and laughter rather than tragedy and loss.
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