Today Marks World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims

Statement by Mr Lauchlan McIntosh AM, President,  Australasian College of Road Safety

Spare a thought this weekend for the victims of road crashes worldwide.  Hidden in the myriad of special international events, meetings, anniversaries and commemorations, the World Health Organisation set aside today, Sunday November 16th 2014, as World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.

Over 1.3 million people will die on the world’s roads this year and over 40 million will be seriously injured.

In most of the world’s poorest countries “death by traffic” is a bigger killer than major diseases.

More than 100,000 Australians are alive because of the good reforms implemented over the last 40 years or so.

However, 30,000 Australians are killed or seriously injured every year on our roads.

Drivers, passengers, walkers, bikers, truckers; in fact the whole population directly or indirectly have been unnecessarily impacted by such trauma. Trauma surgeons, hospitals, social workers, every workplace, every family; the whole economy has suffered. Crash victims are not only the other driver, not only the drunk, the speeding hoon, the fatigued worker but ordinary people, you and I, who make simple mistakes or impacted by similar road users, in an often unforgiving environment.

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has said; “Let us honour those who have lost their lives on the world’s roads by acting to save the lives of others.”

Australia made some great strides in reducing casualty rates from crashes to be in the top 10 in the OECD, and although we have made further improvements, we have been languishing as a median performer for almost a decade as other countries reduce their rates faster than us.

It’s time to use the Day of Remembrance to set a course to get back into the top 10.
We know what to do, but it will require a new level of collaboration, a new focus and some decent leadership in politics, industry and the community.

We owe it to all those who have died, been injured or affected to put new plans in action to step up to the challenge.