25 May 2018
EVERYDAY AUSTRALIANS URGED TO CHOOSE SAFETY THIS FATALITY FREE FRIDAY
With the national road toll up 8 per cent on the same period last year, the Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF) is calling on Australians to choose road safety this Fatality Free Friday (25 May).
To drive home the Fatality Free Friday message, the ARSF has also shared it’s annual research report, which shows an incredible 91 per cent of Australian drivers acknowledge that most road crashes are caused by someone’s choice.
However, it is not the authorities that the community is calling on to stop this tragic and unnecessary loss of life – it’s each other, every day road users who have the power to save lives.
The research revealed that four in five drivers say preventing road deaths is the personal responsibility of road users, which is almost double the amount of people who believe it is up to government or police to fix.
In fact, half of Australians went so far to say that they were fed up with drivers breaking the law and want to see them off the road.
ARSF founder and CEO Russell White said that the significant figures reflect a sentiment shift that has the potential to make a huge impact on the road toll.
“The reality is that more often than not, the tragic loss of life on our roads is because of someone’s choice – the choice to speed or to use a mobile phone, the choice to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the choice not wear a seatbelt or run a red light” said Mr White.
“These are split second decisions that many people make all the time, but sometimes the consequences are fatal. And with every life lost, there are countless friends and family who will forever carry the heartache of losing someone close to them.”
Alarmingly, the research showed that the majority of Australians were not aware of how serious an issue road safety is across the country.
When asked if they knew how many people were killed on Australian roads each year, three in five drivers were more than 200 deaths away from the average road toll figure. Frighteningly, 18 per cent thought it was only one third of the actual number of lives lost, and a further 19 per cent thought it was only two thirds of the true figure.
Mr White said this lack of understanding of how frequent fatal crashes are on Australian roads was likely to be a factor in why so many continue to make dangerous decisions on the road.
“What the new research showed is that the majority of drivers don’t realise how common the choices we make result in a serious or fatal crash, and that fuels a ‘it won’t happen to me’ mentality” he said.
“We have more than half of drivers admitting to speeding and upwards of 2 in 5 driving fatigued,. The research showed more than quarter are driving while distracted, and 1 in 10 are even getting behind the wheel under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”
As a leading road safety advocate, Mr White was also concerned about the impact road bullying was having on driver behaviour.
The startling research showed that 70 per cent of Australian drivers have been bullied on the road, and that for 24 per cent of people this has even pushed them into altering their own driving behaviour.
In fact, the research showed that one in five drivers have been a victim of road rage, which Mr White said, coupled with extreme frequency, is causing a major risk to safety.
“The data shows that a third of drivers are experiencing road bullying at least once a week, and a further 22 per cent says it happens monthy.
“When people are bullied that often on the road, it may not even be obvious choices like mobile phone use but speeding, tailgaiting and changing lanes without adequent assessment that could put many lives at risk,” he warned.
The research has been released as the ARSF calls on individuals to make their Fatality Free Friday pledge online, or at one of the many public signing events across the country.
“Caltex is a founding partner of Fatality Free Friday with our people and business passionate about the message for us all to take care on the road every day. Customers and our own drivers are signing the road safety pledge which reminds us all to be safe on the road every minute of every day,” said Caltex Australia’s Lisa Roobottom.
Road users are encouraged to demonstrate their commitment to reducing the nation’s road toll by adding the Fatality Free Friday pledge to their Facebook page: http://www.isupportcause.com/campaign/fatality-free-friday
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For all media enquiries please contact:
Frances Browne, Thrive PR on behalf of ARSF: firstname.lastname@example.org | 0431 296 499
Chanelle Mihailoff, Thrive PR on behalf of ARSF: email@example.com | 0423 892 557
The Australian Road Safety Foundation is a not for profit organisation dedicated to improving road safety awareness, enhancing driver education and reducing the impact of road trauma. The Foundation strives to improve road safety outcomes, develop research and educations programs and work to inform policy makers on methods to address road safety issues. It also provides an umbrella organisation for other road safety programs and community groups. ARSF is helping to develop a sustainable strategy for reducing the social and economic costs of road crashes, as well as providing a platform for future research and advocacy programs.