In April 2016 alone, 116 people were killed in traffic accidents on Australia’s roads, according to the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development. The total deaths in this quarter is 17.6% higher than what it was last year. The vast majority of these people were drivers, passengers, or motorbike riders, rounded off by pedestrians and bicyclists. The age group with the highest fatalities was the 40 to 74 year old, covering over 25% of the total fatalities. Each of these people had family and friends who grieve their loss, every day.
When thinking about road safety, there’s no single solution that exists to reduce trauma and fatalities on roads. But that doesn’t mean we can’t try. What if we could make the effort to try and have zero fatalities for just one day a year? That was the logic with which Fatality Free Friday was born. Since its inception in 2007, the Fatality Free Friday campaign has successfully fostered community ownership, complex road safety issues and encourages those who can make a significant difference in reducing road trauma. This campaign is now a nationally recognised road safety program, with a message that motorists should consider not just today – but every time they use the road, every day of the year.
Last year’s Fatality Free Friday event was a great success nationally. To date over 130,000 road safety pledges have been signed, and this number is just growing. This year, the focus of the campaign is to raise awareness regarding driving under the influence of drugs – illicit and prescription.
As today is Fatality Free Friday, here are some ideas for you and your loved ones to keep in mind, to ensure the goal of zero fatalities is met:
- Driving lessons: Fatality Free Friday founder and Australian Road Safety Foundation CEO, Russell White, suggests refresher driving lessons – especially if it’s been a while since you last went on a drive.
- Keep a safe distance: The ideal following distance is one that keeps a 2 second gap between you and the car in front of you. Any closer will be considered tailgating.
- Stay focused on the road: Russell also discusses how it’s important to stay focused on the road. He says, “When getting your prescriptions filled out, always remember to ask your chemist if the medication would cause drowsiness, so you know if you need to avoid driving.”
- Scan the road ahead: Sometimes, a car can come out from nowhere, and not scanning the road ahead can result in serious road trauma.
- Always be fit to drive: Russell says it is important to be absolutely healthy before you take your place behind the wheel. Go for regular health checks, and get your eyes examined too.
- Drive to suit the conditions: If the traffic on the roads is overwhelming, or the weather conditions are making it hard to drive, always choose to wait to put the keys in the ignition. There is no rush, and you need to be completely comfortable when you get on the road.
What is your pledge on Fatality Free Friday?