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Startling new research drives Home the Fatality Free Friday message

Startling new research drives Home the Fatality Free Friday message

12 May 2017

fatality free friday

Despite road crashes claiming the lives of 291 Victorian’s last year, the State’s road users continue to put themselves and others at risk, according to new research.

The new data, released by the Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF) in the lead up to its annual Fatality Free Friday initiative, highlights not only the irresponsible behaviour of drivers but also those who sit idly by and allow it to happen.

In fact, the recent study shows that more than half (51%) of Victorians do not ask speeding friends or family members to slow down, many believing it is simply not their place to caution another driver.

And it is not just with loved ones that Victorians let illegal behaviour slide.

The research revealed that 52% of Victorians riding with a texting taxi, UBER or professional driver will not ask them to put their phone away. While one in 10 of these passengers claim it is because they are too afraid, an additional 6% just ‘can’t be bothered’ speaking to the driver.

ARSF founder and CEO Russell White said that reducing the tragic loss of life on the roads must stem from peer pressure and not just from authorities dictating road laws.

“We need to create a culture where we call each other out on bad behaviour behind the wheel, instead of shuffling the responsibility onto others,” Mr White said.

“That’s what our Fatality Free Friday initiative is all about; educating road users on the individual role they play in reducing the devastating impact of road crashes.

“Obviously nobody goes out looking to be in a road crash, but not everyone goes out deliberately looking to avoid one either, and that is evident every time someone speeds, takes a risk on the road, or uses their mobile phone,” he said.

Equally as alarming, the data reveals that one in five Victorians narrowly avoid a car crash at least once a month, higher than the national average (20%), while 8% of drivers said they experienced close calls on a weekly basis.

The new data comes as the ARSF launches its Victorian campaign to gather safety pledges ahead of Fatality Free Friday, the nation’s largest community-based road safety initiative, which this year falls on 26 May.

Caltex, the founding partner of Fatality Free Friday, continues to work to reduce the devastating impact of road trauma through its support of ARSF and reinforcement of its key messages.

The proud Australian company will help the ARSF launch its Victorian Fatality Free Friday crusade with the opening of a new entry point to their Newport Terminal, a feature of the $75 million upgrade, which will create safer driving conditions in the community.  

Caltex’s terminal upgrade includes a new entrance which allows heavy vehicles to manoeuvre clear of a known, local blackspot. The new entrance enables traffic to flow freely along busy Douglas Parade, significantly improving road safety in the area on a street that carries more than 11,000 vehicles per day.

“We’re out on the road every single day, sharing it with our customers, suppliers and neighbours,” said Frank Boys, Caltex’s acting Executive General Manager Supply Operations, who officiated the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “That’s one reason why being an advocate for road safety is immensely important to us and the communities in which we operate.”

Held annually on the last Friday in May since its inception in 2007, Fatality Free Friday has garnered support from hundreds of thousands of Australians, who have taken the road safety pledge, either in person at one of the many public signing events across the country or online.

Road users are encouraged to demonstrate their commitment to reducing the nation’s road toll by adding the Fatality Free Friday pledge to their Facebook and/or Twitter page:

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Frances Browne
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Sally Oelerich
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