Sadly, many of us are connected to someone who’s been injured or died as a result of a road traffic accident. It was only early this year that The Drake Group lost one of their team members in a horrific van vs truck accident, leaving behind a beautiful family.
With so many Australians losing their lives on our roads, including those we consider our mates, it’s important we recognise the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, which is observed on the third Sunday of November every year. This year it falls on November 19.
This year’s theme for World Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims is “reduce road fatalities AND serious injuries by 50%.” This theme falls in line with the United Nations goal to halve traffic accident deaths and injuries by 2020.
Why is there a need for this day?
Road deaths and injuries are sudden, violent and often unpredictable events and the aftermath effects are long-lasting or permanent. In 2016 alone, there were 1,295 deaths on Australian roads and 1.25 million deaths globally, predominately in developing countries.
According to the World Day of Remembrance organisation, the burden of grief and distress experienced by this number of people every year is greater because many of the victims are young, many of the crashes could have been prevented and because the response to the families and victims of road casualties and injuries is often inadequate despite the abrupt loss of life or quality of life.
The Remembrance Day is considered an important tool in the global effort to decrease road fatalities. Not only does it provide an opportunity to discuss the scale of emotional and economic devastation, it also recognises the work of support and rescue services.
What’s happening on our roads?
According to Jerome Carslake from the National Road Safety Partnership Program (NRSPP) the most common causes of road fatalities and serious car accidents in Australia are fatigue, speed, distraction (including using mobile phones while driving), and drugs and alcohol. Road trauma doesn’t just affect families and loved ones, it affects the economy too, with the daily cost equating to $70 million – the same as the daily defence budget!
Prioritising vehicle safety
While human error accounts for most of the road accidents, a small percentage is attributed to vehicle faults. Australian manufacturers must adhere to The Australian Design Rules. The idea around these rules is to make vehicles, whether it’s a prime mover, a heavy haulage trailer, or a passenger car to a minimum standard. At The Drake Group, we strive to go above and beyond those rules to ensure users of our trailers are protected and safe.
Looking out for heavy vehicles
Heavy vehicles account for 16% of fatalities, so extra caution is advisable around heavy vehicles. Most of these accidents are caused by passenger cars abruptly pulling in front of the heavy vehicle without realising they are pulling 70+ tonnes behind them, making it incredibly hard to stop safely. It’s one of the reasons why responsible truck drivers leave so much space. If you pull in front of a prime mover too early, you might just end up underneath it.
So, on World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, help the cause by bringing your voice to the discussion of what can be done to encourage responsible driving and decrease the number of fatalities on Australian roads.