National Road Safety Week time to focus on saving lives

Australians are being urged to consider how they can help ensure everyone gets home safely as National Road Safety Week to honour and remember the lives lost on our roads begins on Sunday.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said National Road Safety Week brings focus to how we can work together to save lives and prevent serious injuries on our roads.

“The beginning of National Road Safety Week is an important date to me, as I’m sure it is to Australians across the country, as we reflect on the profound impact road crashes have on the community,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

“To start this week on Sunday 15 November, we will pause to remember the approximately 1,200 lives lost on Australian roads each year.”

Mr McCormack said road safety was everyone’s responsibility and the Australian Government was working hard to put Australia on a path to achieve ‘Vision Zero’ by 2050.

“We take our role in this seriously which is why we committed $500 million for targeted road safety upgrades as part of our infrastructure stimulus package in June, as well as a $2 billion Road Safety Program in the 2020-21 Budget,” he said.

“A significant part of the new infrastructure program will apply life-saving mesures to roads in regional areas starting in the New Year, making a very real benefit to road safety.

“We have also committed $5.5 million over four years for a new National Road Safety Data Hub to assemble an invaluable national picture on safety to make sure we are targeting the areas most in need.”

Mr McCormack said this week wais also a chance to recognise the work of Peter Frazer and the SARAH Group (Safer Australian Roads and Highways), who founded the National Road Safety Week in 2013.

SARAH is named in honour of Peter’s daughter Sarah, who was tragically killed on the Hume Highway in 2012.

“SARAH’s main focus is protecting vulnerable road users, particularly emergency services personnel and first responders on roads and roadsides, which is why each day this week will highlight a specific theme such as pedestrians or riders,” Mr McCormack said.

“The light shone on road safety during this week will be a welcome reminder to think about how we can actively protect each other on the roads to ensure we all get home safely to our loved ones.”

Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz said National Road Safety Week was a timely reminder that far too many people are dying or being injured on our roads.

"Every year across the world, around 1.35 million people will die in road traffic deaths,” Mr Buchholz said.

"Those statistics represent more than just the tragic loss of life. They represent a horrifying number of people left hurting – children, parents, siblings, friends, colleagues and first responders.

"We will remember the lives lost on our roads and we pay tribute to the dedicated emergency crews, police and medical professionals, who deal daily with the traumatic aftermath of road crashes.

"While the first responders in Australia should be acknowledged and thanked every day, I am proud that this week they will receive the national recognition they deserve.

"But ultimately, the way we can repay the best, is to drive safe every single time we get behind the wheel, be it a car, bike, bus or truck.

"So this week, the aim is to keep road safety front of mind, so if you see a local or national landmark being lit up in yellow, remember those lost on our roads and take the opportunity to talk about the importance of road safety.

"Let the yellow landmarks remind us to look after ourselves, our passengers and others on the roads.

"Even one death on our roads is one too many, which is why the work we are doing on the next National Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030, in conjunction with our investments in safer roads, is so important.”

Sarah President Peter Frazer said the central concept behind the Week was to remember that everyone had a right to get home safely to their loved ones – every day, no exceptions.

“In making this a reality, each of us has an important role to play and by coming together we can significantly reduce those avoidable deaths and serious injuries that occur on Australia’s roads every single day,” Mr Frazer said.

“So each time you turn that key you have an opportunity to publicly demonstrate that you are a road safety champion. So make that choice and drive others to survive.”

Other National Road Safety Week events include the display of yellow ribbons, an online pledge by drivers to promise to drive without distraction, and community competitions to promote road safety.

For more information on National Road Safety Week and how to get involved, visit www.roadsafetyweek.com.au.

More information on Australian Government road safety initiatives is available at www.officeofroadsafety.gov.au.

Media Contact:

Deputy Prime Minister – Joanne Williamson 0418 475 668 | Dean Shachar 0418 202 860

Assistant Minister Buchholz – Scott O’Connell 0413 424 38