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Road safety: a shared responsibility

Watch Gabby O’Neill, the head of the Office of Road Safety in Australia, discuss the National Road Safety Strategy and reducing road trauma.

Australia’s National Road Safety Strategy 2021-30 encourages people and organisations to work together to foster a safety culture that embeds road safety into business as usual.

In this video, Gabby O’Neill, the head of the Office of Road Safety in Australia, explores the National Road Safety Strategy and its targets to reduce road trauma.

The Safe System approach

Road safety strategies and programs are often delivered by government authorities and include targets for reducing serious injuries and deaths. In Australia and many countries around the world, these strategies are underpinned by the Safe System approach.

The Safe System (also known as Vision Zero or Towards Zero) views human life and health as paramount and should be the primary consideration when designing a road network.

The elements of the Safe System approach are; safe people, safe roads, safe speeds, safe vehicles and post-crash care.

This approach aims to improve the safety of all parts of the system, so that if one part fails, the other parts protect people from being killed or seriously injured.

With these elements working holistically, the system is more forgiving of human or mechanical error and aims at reducing the impact of a mistake made on the road resulting in a fatality or serious injury.

Traditionally, the responsibility for staying safe on our roads was placed on the individual. Under the Safe System approach businesses and organisations, road and vehicle designers, regulators and road users share this responsibility.

The Social Model approach

As Gabby mentioned, the National Road Safety Strategy has adopted a social model approach to foster a road safety culture. This approach looks beyond the transport sector, governments and the road safety community to build wider community acceptance of road safety solutions.

This approach recognises the importance of relationships across groups, agencies and sectors, enabling allied health professionals and disability staff and organisations to contribute to improving road safety outcomes for vulnerable road users and their families.

Achieving Vision Zero

Achieving Vision Zero requires that the transport needs of children with disabilities and medical conditions are equal to the needs of other road users. As a step towards achieving Vision Zero by 2050, Australia’s new National Road Safety Strategy targets zero deaths of children aged seven and under, by 2030. This presents a unique opportunity to ensure the transport needs of children with disabilities become business as usual.

Your Task

Respond to these questions and post your thoughts in the comments.

  • How will the social model approach help achieve Australia’s goal of zero deaths for children under seven years?
  • Reflect on the concept of shared responsibility and how you can contribute to improving road safety both personally and professionally.
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Transporting Children with Disabilities and Medical Conditions

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