With 1,271 road fatalities in 2015, and 432 Australians losing their lives on our roads so far this year1, the initiative (of the Australian Road Safety Foundation) aims to fuel greater accountability among road users, and calls for all individuals to understand the important role they each play in preventing serious and fatal crashes.
Despite reductions in road deaths over the past decade, Fridays remain as one of the most deadly for road crashes in Australia, recording an average of 4 deaths2 – many of which are avoidable. Held annually on the last Friday in May, Fatality Free Friday has seen hundreds of thousands of drivers across the country take the road safety pledge, however more work is needed to break this devastating cycle.
New research released earlier this month revealed that one in 10 (11%) 25-34 year olds have driven under the influence of illicit drugs in the last 12 months alone3. In light of this statistic, Australian Road Safety Foundation CEO Russell White said the focus of this year’s campaign was to create awareness of this shocking behaviour and educate road users on the important factors that may impair one’s ability to drive safely.
“We want to drive the message home that any form of reckless behaviour including driving under the influence of illicit drugs, alcohol and even some prescription medications can lead to devastating consequences,” he said.
“Motorists must recognise that every decision they make can be the difference between life and death – it only takes a lapse in concentration or a slightly delayed reaction that could result in a loss of life. The road rules are in place for a very good reason.
“We are extremely proud of the contribution Fatality Free Friday has played in reducing road trauma over the past ten years, but we know that more work needs to be done. We understand that road safety is a complex issue and while a single day free from any fatalities is the ultimate goal, drivers should commit to making safe choices every time they get behind the wheel,” he said.
New South Wales Police Assistant Commissioner John Hartley said that initiatives like Fatality Free Friday have a positive impact on driver behaviour, but that it would require a concerted effort by all Australians to affect lasting change on our roads.
“Fatality Free Friday continues to make significant steps towards creating safer roads, however there is still more work to be done to steer Australia’s driving culture in the right direction – and we are determined to crackdown on irresponsible behaviours that ultimately result in tragedy.
“We are pleased to support the Australian Road Safety Foundation in spreading the road safety message far and wide, and hope to see all road users join forces to achieve the milestone of zero road fatalities,” Assistant Commissioner Hartley said.
As well as attending one of the many Fatality Free Friday public signing events across the country, road users are also able to make their road safety pledge by visiting www.fatalityfreefriday.com or on the Fatality Free Friday Facebook page.
Note to the editors:
1Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, Road Deaths Australia – Monthly Bulletins, April 2016: At a glance
2 Average number of fatalities for each day of week: 2010 – 2015, Australian Road Deaths Database, BITRE, Accessed May 2016
3This research for the Australian Road Safety Foundation was undertaken by the Online Research Unit between 6-11 April, 2016 with 1,034 national respondents
ABOUT FATALITY FREE FRIDAY
An initiative of the Australian Road Safety Foundation, Fatality Free Friday is Australia’s only national community-based road safety program. Held on the last Friday in May, the initiative calls for road users to make a pledge to themselves, their family, friends and other motorists, to consciously drive safely and obey road rules.
For more information or media interviews, please contact Haystac on behalf of the Australian Road Safety Foundation:
Ph: 07 3119 2441
Mob: 0478 038 707
Ph: 07 3119 2493
Mob: 0447 051 156