Remembering David Healy

It is with deep sadness that ACRS acknowledges the passing of Mr David Healy.

On 21 November 2022, Australasia lost one of its great contributors to road safety. David John Healy is universally admired and respected by his colleagues. Over recent years, he quietly and bravely battled several big health challenges, succeeding in returning to his passion for making our roads safe. David showed tremendous fight and courage throughout his lengthy illnesses. Because of this, we were rewarded with the steady return of David to his old self, while for David, there was the additional time spent with family and friends, and the pleasure that came with the simple things in life; a daily walk with Sue, relaxing on the coast at Sandy Point, an occasional game of golf and, just recently, experiencing the joys of his baby granddaughter, Nina. 

Reflections emailed and shared on social media since his passing paint a picture of a remarkable man. His friendly and gentle manner, his support for and mentoring of young people, his commitment to a better, safer society, his humility that belied his talent and intellect, and the quirky sense of humour that made him such great company, are commonly mentioned.

David’s road safety influence was profound, as is evidenced by the many tributes flowing from his colleagues and friends. While head of road safety at Victoria’s Transport Accident Commission, where he spent more than 15 years, he oversaw the delivery of many and varied programs, and showed a natural ability to see traffic as operating in a system, long before any of us had heard of the Safe System. He focused on implementing safety measures based on good science, with the aim of seeing measurable change ‘on the ground’, change that would lead to fewer deaths and much reduced harm.

David was an active and long-term contributor to the work of ACRS, including helping to organise and participate in the College’s first conference, an informal gathering held on a weekend in Victoria’s Mount Macedon area, with members perusing and discussing research papers. He later served as Chair of the Victorian Chapter, and as a fellow of the College, he undoubtedly helped to strengthen ACRS’s influence and standing in the community and inspired others to become involved.

David’s career included positions with other Victorian Government organisations; RoSTA, the RTA and VicRoads, as well as highly-valued roles at MUARC and, most recently, as an in-demand consultant. While David’s passing is a huge professional loss, his friendship will also be greatly missed by the many whose lives he touched. He leaves a vast body of work just waiting to be implemented. Let’s find ways to bring renewed life to David’s legacy.

David will be sadly missed and we offer our condolences to his wife and family.

– with thanks to Bruce Corben for sharing his memories of David.