Perth was chosen to be this year’s host city for the 2018 National Road Safety Week, which began five years ago and is an initiative of Safer Australian Roads and Highways (SARAH) founder and president Peter Frazer.
Peter lost his daughter Sarah in an horrific road crash in 2012 just as she was on her way to begin her university studies at a neighbouring university and to start a new chapter in her life at the age of 23.
Sarah had experienced car trouble on the way to her first day of university and had been forced to pull over to the emergency lane and to call and wait for a tow truck to provide assistance. Sadly both Sarah and the tow truck driver were killed instantly when a truck, which failed to see and avoid them, ploughed into them both killing them instantly.
Peter later discovered that the emergency lane on that stretch of road did not meet national safety guidelines and has become a tireless campaigner for road safety, marking the start of a journey neither he nor his wife had ever wanted to take.
The campaign launch was held at Perth’s newly opened Yagan Square on Sunday April 29 and was officially marked by WA Road Safety Minister Hon. Michelle Roberts and acting Road Safety Commissioner Iain Cameron, leading road safety figures from across WA, community members and the Road Trauma Support WA team.
The week highlighted the safety needs of different road users and groups throughout the week, focusing on first responders, roadside assistance workers, vulnerable road users, those on regional roads as well as cyclists and motorcyclists.
It also incorporated a research forum which brought together those involved in enforcement, legislation, protection, research and support, looking at the latest trends and evidence around road safety and mapping out ways to work together moving forward.
Although the profile and impact of National Road Safety Week continues to grow each year and to resonate with communities across Australia, the reality is that despite education, advocacy, legislation and enforcement, the number of those killed and injured on our roads continues to grow. And with that the number of families and community members who are left devastated in its wake.
Governments across the world continue to call for tougher penalties for those who break the law on our roads, and although the vast majority abide by those laws, there are still those who don’t – putting themselves and others at risk.
Road Safety experts also referred to those who aren’t drinking and driving, who aren’t speeding and who are routinely wearing their seatbelts, but who make momentary mistakes that will impact them and those around them for the rest of their lives.
The Road Trauma Support WA team would like to thank Peter Frazer and the SARAH group for all of their hard work, the WA Road Safety Commission team who coordinated the event nationally from Perth, WA Road Safety Minister Hon. Michelle Roberts and all those across Australia who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make the events of the past week happen.
As we reflect on the events of the past week, which have successfully put road safety in the national spotlight, lets pause to remember all of those who are struggling in the wake of road trauma.
If you, a friend, family member or colleague has been impacted by road trauma would like further information or support it is available at www.rtswa.org.au