Opinion

Commit to the road toll war

by
May 05, 2016

It is tragic and more than ironic that our area has suffered two serious car crashes during this week’s Yellow Ribbon National Road Safety Week.

On Monday night a three-car collision on the Goulburn Valley Hwy at Wahring left a 21-year-old man dead and a woman fighting for her life in hospital.

Eighteen hours later two cars collided on the Midland Hwy near Pine Lodge leaving one man seriously injured in Melbourne’s Alfred hospital and another driver in Goulburn Valley Hospital with leg injuries.

While police investigate the causes of these crashes, it is neither helpful or proper to speculate on who was at fault.

It is however, perhaps necessary and timely to reflect on what can be done to prevent increasing numbers of Australians being killed and maimed on our roads.

More than 1200 people died and more than 30000 were seriously injured in road incidents last year.

The Australian Automobile Association has said that an 11 per cent spike in the road toll during the past months shows that every Australian, including our governments must do more to make our roads safer.

The AAA call for action came during budget week and was undoubtedly being used as a prodding stick to lever more funds for road safety.

But it also came with a plea for more education on road safety and a greater awareness of the toll that careless driving takes.

The toll is not limited to road users, it involves the trauma experienced by first responders — the police, the emergency services, ambulance officers, tow truck drivers, road workers and others involved in a chaotic crash scene.

While authorities can strive towards building safer, better roads and junctions, and politicians and police can issue relentless warnings — in the end, road safety comes down to individual attitudes and behaviour.

So Australians are being asked to display a yellow ribbon on their vehicle or on their lapel to show they are safety advocates and that they stand in solidarity with those who have been killed or injured in road crashes.

It is a simple gesture, and perhaps too easy.

But if it makes one person think twice before overtaking, or fiddling with their phone or driving while tired, then a simple yellow ribbon has done its job.

There are many slogans used in the road toll war — perhaps the most powerful is this: Drive as if your loved ones are on the road ahead.

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