News, Opinion

Everyone has a right to get home safe

safe

That’s the theme of this year’s National Road Safety Week that launches today, May 15.

As each day has a different theme, I encourage you to find out about the week by going to www.roadsafetyweek.com.au.

But I want to draw your attention to a specific day because I know that truckies see more of this than most: Tuesday, May 17 focuses on road trauma and talks about the true impact on individuals, their loved ones and the community more generally.

It asks that we “choose to actively look after each other” so we can all live without experiencing injury and trauma due to a crash.

That Tuesday’s theme is so important because for far too long death and serious injury on our roads has been seen as merely a sad, but inevitable consequence, of moving people and freight within Australia. But it doesn’t have to be this  way and by helping to challenge and change attitudes, (perhaps including our own), we can make a real difference to those on the road ahead.

I’ve been doing this road safety work for the last 10 years because I reckon we can improve outcomes if every Australian spent just a moment thinking about how differently they would drive if it was their loved ones who was vulnerable on the road ahead.

As many of you know, I was brought into this road safety space on 15th February 2012, after my own beautiful daughter, Sarah Frazer, was killed by a distracted truck driver in what was a totally avoidable road crash.

Three months ago, we commemorated her 10th Anniversary and it was a terrible day for my family and Sarah’s loved ones. But what adds to our loss is that since Sarah’s death, more than 12,000 people have been killed while over 400,000 Australians have sustained serious injuries.

But irrespective of my own sadness, I remain proud of the work we have done with the trucking and logistics industry for there are many who I see as leading national road safety advocates.

Yes, all businesses have to be profitable if you are going to be there for the long run, but these companies and small businesses have made a choice that they will never compromise their workers or the public’s safety to ‘make a quick buck’.

They look after their drivers’ welfare because they know that commanding a heavy vehicle is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. They set realistic timeframes so their drivers don’t put themselves or the lives of the community in danger. I am also incredibly proud that many of them display SARAH’s yellow ribbons or yellow ribbon stickers on their heavy vehicles (and their light vehicles for that matter) to publicly show they are road safety champions!

Without doubt, these are the leaders we need, for they are not only helping improve road safety across the nation, and challenging our politicians to do better for this industry, but are also actively supporting those who are trying to make a positive difference.

At a practical level, because they recognise that speeding and distraction are two of the  greatest contributors to fatality and serious injury, they are committed to improving in-cabin focus, as well as ensure their drivers are never under pressure to speed.

So, it’s our wish that National Road Safety Week should bring focus to these champions. They are not only changing the industry but influencing how everyone behaves on the road.

As such, we ask every individual truckie, small business or company to follow their lead, for the reality is that if we don’t, over the next 12 months, literally tens of thousands of loved ones will continue to suffer injuries… or even unimaginably worse, people will lose their lives leaving families and loved ones bereaved for as long as they live.

I am proud that so many truckies are showing the community that they are looking out for the health and wellbeing of the public. I am also proud to advocate for the need of our truckies so they can safely do their incredibly important work for our nation!

With National Road Safety Week running from May 15-22, join us in letting the community know how you are getting behind the Week.

For instance, show the public that you and your workers are road safety advocates by literally flying the flag (… well, actually displaying yellow ribbons and “Drive So Others Survive!” stickers).

Go to the Road Safety Week website and take the pledge, and then ask your family, friends and colleagues to do the same. Show them that you are serious about protecting their lives because you have chosen to actively “Drive So Others Survive!”

And if they ask you why you are doing this tell them the reason is simple…

“Everyone has a right to get home safe to their loved ones … every day … no exceptions!”

So what will you do for National Road Safety Week?

About the author: Peter Frazer, President of SARAH Group, has over 40 years’ experience in economic analysis, research, law enforcement & compliance policy, investigations, strategic & operational intelligence, and project management as well as social justice advocacy.

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