December Road Safety Newsletter

Message from the Chair

Dear All,

At a recent symposium with the Road Engineering Association of Asia and Australasia, it became evident to me that our road engineers are just as much heroes of the front line of road safety as our Police force.

Thanks to champions in the profession in WA, people like Menno Henneveld and Sarkis Petrossian, who were among the first to realise that construction standards were just the beginning when it comes to road safety, Safe System road engineering is now an established discipline in our State.

In possessing this knowledge and insight, the new generation of road engineering champions are to be congratulated for taking up the challenge of going beyond the ‘normal’ standards to save lives.  And even better – we now understand that Main Roads engineers have the track record and know how to include crucial safety feature in their new designs, often at little or no additional project costs.

However, retrofitting will require significant additional resources and that, in particular, is where the Safer Roads Program and part of the enlarged Road Trauma Trust Account should be sharply focussed.  In line with the State’s road safety strategy, Towards Zero, the results of safe system road engineering show cased at the symposium were consistently outstanding.

For example, to achieve a 20% reduction in killed and seriously injured (KSI) on the treated areas of Perth to Bunbury Forrest Highway is a great result and we know from other evaluations that reductions as much as a 50% in KSI are achievable with measures as simple as audible edge lining and widened, sealed shoulders on regional roads.

This year, in closing the Australasian Road Safety Research, Policing and Education Conference, I made the remark that we need to just “get out there and do it”!  We have the evidence and the experts in the field, and so I implore these champions of road engineering to do this as well and continue the life saving work.

It is appropriate that we often see our front line heroes of road safety enforcement, namely our Police, feature prominently in media coverage and public debate, but we very seldom see comment made by the road engineering profession about the crucial benefits that their profession can also offer.  This needs to change because design engineers are road safety heroes too.

In fact, it concerns me that our Police are the public face of road safety alone while our engineers remain publically silent.  The imbalance leads to a distorted and narrowly conceived impression in the minds of the public about the full range of effective measures available to reduce road trauma.

Road safety engineers have the knowledge and the power to shape the physical road environment to a form that compensates and forgives inevitable human error.

WA’s Safe System treatments and engineers behind this work are leaders in their field.  Now’s the time for our engineering heroes to speak out and to help us influence the social environment as well, through better education of the general public as to what’s possible.  At the symposium I heard of sometimes perverse political barriers that stood in the way of safety engineering solutions.

The road engineering profession needs to be seen and heard to develop the public support for to overcome such obstacles.The Road Safety Council  knows of the life saving work in the profession of road safety engineering and knows these champions have important perspective’s to express and highly effective interventions to offer.

The WA public need to arrive at this same appreciation.  WA’s road engineers are unsung heroes of road safety, so I urge them to blow their trumpets a little louder!

I look forward to 2012 as a time to throw the limelight onto recent successes in all cornerstones of the Towards Zero Safe System strategy.

The recent advances have been small wins compared with where we need to be by 2020, but they show us that advances are possible and have been achieved.  Road safety engineering is a crucial column on that advancing front.

I look forward to bringing you more news and topics in the 2012 editions of the Road Safety Council’s Network News e-newsletter.

Professor D’Arcy Holman.
Independent Chair of the Road Safety Council.

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Community Education

• Street Smarts – Weekly advertising in Wednesday’s edition of The West Australian. Topics include driver distraction, roundabouts, pedestrian crossings, double demerits, back to school, drink driving, fatigue, merging lanes and other road rules and road craft skills. Advertising also appears each month on Saturdays and in the Sunday Times.

• Regional Billboards – Advertising supporting for Drink driving enforcement began on end of November and will run until mid January 2012.

• A new Drink Driving behaviour Community Education Campaign; Drink Driving, It’s Never OK’  launched on the 27 of November 2011 and ran through to mid December, the campaign will run again in January 2012 through to May 2012 alternating the media placement schedule with ‘You Deserve It’

• Aboriginal Road Safety – Including television, radio and outdoor signage. This annual campaign aims to raise awareness of the range of road safety within aboriginal communities.

• Speeding – Enjoy the Ride campaign will be back on air in mid December on television, outdoor billboards and in cinemas. The new Speed Enforcement advertising is currently under development.

• Double Demerits – Community members will be reminded of double demerit weeks prior to long weekends or holiday periods.

To find out more about campaigns click here.

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New Drink Driving Campaign Launched 

A new education campaign targeting drink driving has been launched, sending the strong message: Drink Driving, It’s Never OK.
Drink driving contributes to more than 30 per cent of fatal road crashes each year in Western Australia.
The $1,400,000 campaign, which uses television and outdoor advertising across WA, began on Sunday 27 November 2011.
“The overall goal of the campaign is to support the community’s attitudes around the social unacceptability of drink driving,” Executive Director of the Office of Road Safety, Iain Cameron said.
“In Western Australia during the 2010/11 Christmas period* alone, 887 of the drivers tested by police were found to exceed the lawful alcohol limit for driving.

“That’s an average of almost 50 people a day. This is not OK.
“Consuming alcohol prior to driving impairs driving ability and increases the risk of crashing, too often resulting in death or serious injury on our roads.”
Targeting young males, the campaign is inspired by the classic Monty Python films and shows a range of extreme situations in which a male is injured but claims to be ‘OK’ when clearly not. The final scene has a young male leaving a BBQ after a few drinks and claiming to be ‘OK’ to drive home.

“We need to educate and remind all people of the risks and consequences associated with drinking alcohol and driving,” Mr Cameron said.
“It is important to view drink driving on any level as unacceptable, it is never OK.
“The best advice for all drivers is if you plan to drink, plan not to drive.  Nominate a skipper before going out, take a taxi or public transport rather than driving, ask a friend or relative who has not been drinking to pick you up, or arrange to spend the night.
“Think of the consequences of drink driving – not only the penalties, but the effects that death or serious injury can have on yourself, your friends and your family.”
To find out more about the campaign and others from ORS, click here.

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IDDL Kit now Available 

Year 11 students at Clontarf Aboriginal College – many of whom are in the processing of learning to drive or gaining their licence –took part in the launch of The Indigenous Drink Driving and Licensing (IDDL) resource kit recently.

“The students tested a range of interactive resources specifically developed for Indigenous Western Australians,” Senior Policy Office, Julie Dalla-Costa said.
“They  include a board game, discussion cards, a streetscape mat with model cars, and a Q&A CD containing practice Learner’s Permit theory tests.  The resources have options for people with low literacy levels to listen along and a questionnaire to help people prepare for the licence application process.”

Other educational materials in the kit include a DVD starring Mary G that explores the issues surrounding unlicensed and drink driving, a poster that encourages alternatives to drinking, and a DVD of Road Safety Council TV campaigns created by Goolarri Media.

It also contains several booklets including the Drive Safe handbook, a facilitator’s guide containing easy to understand factual information on the licensing process and drink driving, and a Strong Spirit Strong Mind booklet by the Drug and Alcohol Office containing information on Aboriginal ways to reduce harm from alcohol and other drugs.

The Kit is now available and if you would like to know more please contact Julie Dalla-Costa at the Office of Road Safety on 9323 4690


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South West Road Safety Alliance Campaign Launched 

The South West Industry Road Safety Alliance (SWIRSA) has launched its Christmas campaign in an effort to reduce deaths and serious injuries during the holiday period

“The Making the Right Choices campaign includes a series of three television and radio commercials which raise awareness within the community and reinforce the consequences of making the wrong decision when driving,” Inspector Lysle Cubbage, Chairman of SWIRSA, said.

The three concepts rolled out state wide on WIN TV this month. Radio spots broadcast on Hot FM and Radio West (Bunbury, Collie and Narrogin) compliment the TV campaign.

“The wrong decision is choosing to drive whilst impaired by  alcohol or other drugs, driving whilst fatigued, exceeding the speed limit and choosing not to wear the proper restraints,”  Inspector Cubbage said.

In addition to the advertisements the Alliance will ensure key messages are adopted in workplaces, reinforced at tool box and safety meetings combined with strategically aligned road policing and enforcement.

“Police will concentrate their efforts in areas where we believe people will make the wrong choices,” Sgt Mark Smith, South West District Traffic Coordinator said.

“Our officers will adopt a no tolerance and unapologetic approach to those road users.”
The South West Industry Road Safety Alliance was formed in 2009 and comprises of major industry and road authorities around the Collie, Boddington and Peel regions.

Inspector Cubbage is confident that with the support of the community, no Police Officers will be required to conduct the heart breaking ‘door knock’ to relatives of those who made the wrong decision.

For more information contact Sharyn Jer, Partnership Manager- 9323 4868 /

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2012 Road Safety Planner

The 2012 Road Safety Planner is now available for download from the Office of Road Safety website.  The planner is produced to assist stakeholders in planning activities with road safety initiatives in mind.

This year, the planner highlights the priority areas of Towards Zero and what is required to achieve the cornerstones and ultimately reduce death and serious injury on WA roads.

To access the downloadable versions, click here.

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10 Year Anniversary of 50 km/h Speed Zones in WA 

Just one minute has been added to people’s average travel time to work but has saved lives and serious injuries, according to Main Roads estimates as a result of the 10 km/h speed reduction on WA roads since 2001.

This month, the Road Safety Council marked the 10 year anniversary of 50km/h speed zones in built up areas.

“Any decrease in speed is a proven measure in reducing road trauma,” Independent Chair of the Road Safety Council, Professor D’Arcy Holman said.

“The reduction from 60km/h to 50km/h led to 20 per cent fewer crashes, with 8448 fewer crashes reported in the first two years after implementation.”

Driving at safer speeds could save 3,200 people from being killed or seriously injured alone, if fully implemented.

“Speeding is a major factor in serious and fatal traffic crashes with 65 people killed and 410 seriously injured on average, each year due to excessive speed,” Professor Holman said.

“The life savings benefits far outweigh any concerns about delays in travel times as the reduction in crashes is evident.

A 2004 state-wide evaluation of the 50 km/h initiative in Western Australia also indicated a 16 per cent reduction in crashes in regional Western Australia.

There were also decreases in the average crash frequency on 50 km/h and 60 km/h roads for crashes involving bicyclists and motorcyclists.

For more information about speed in WA, click here

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