Everybody has a key role to play in preventing death and serious injury on the road. As road users we all need to comply with road rules, be safety conscious and alert in order to create a road safety culture where no one regards death or injury on the road as inevitable.
As a community, each driver, pedestrian, cyclist or motorcycle rider is responsible for avoiding dangerous and unsafe behaviour. Young drivers are often a focus of TAC road safety campaigns, however safe driving behaviour is the responsibility of all drivers.
Dangerous driving includes a range of behaviours. These include:
- Drink driving is one of the biggest killers on Victoria's road. About ¼ of all fatal crashes involve a driver or rider over the legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit of 0.05. Driving while under the influence of alcohol affects perception, vision, concentration, reaction time and causes drowsiness – all of which increase the chance of having an accident.
- Illegal use of cannabis, cocaine and hallucinogens has increased since 2010 and the use of prescription drugs mixed with alcohol or other drugs has become an emerging problem. These drugs affect motor skills and the ability to control a vehicle.
- All booze buses can test for illegal drugs – cannabis (marijuana), methamphetamine (ice) and MDMA (ecstasy).
- Texting or talking on a hand-held mobile phone is illegal. We encourage drivers to have a policy of not using your phone in the car as even using a hands-free mobile can affect your ability to concentrate.
- Driver fatigue accounts for about 20% of fatal road accidents and 30% of severe single-vehicle crashes in rural areas.
- Studies show someone who has been awake for 17 hours has the same risk of an accident as someone with an alcohol reading of 0.05 – they are seven times more likely to have an accident.
- Seatbelts reduce the risk of serious or fatal injury by 50% by limiting the body's movement and avoiding contact with the interior of the vehicle if involved in a crash.
- Properly fitted baby capsules and child restraints prevent injury to children.
- Eating, drinking or smoking
- Adjusting a radio, iPod or listening on a mobile phone
- Dialling a mobile phone
- Adjusting climate and other controls in the vehicle
- Moving an object in the vehicle.
We have instigated two programs to educate drivers about dangerous driving, primarily aimed at young drivers but applicable to all in the Victorian community. MAFMAD is a film making competition where people aged up to 25 years make a short film about attitudes to driving. Vanessa is a mobile cinema that promotes the road safety message to people at festivals and at many other events across Victoria.
Our funded programs aimed at safer people in 2012-2013 include:
- Continuing public education campaigns.
- A drink driving focus on wine regions and at a range of events including A Day on the Green, the Falls Festival and country racing events.
- Providing independent and expert advice to the community on the dangers of alcohol and drugs while driving.
- Continuing to discourage inappropriate drinking levels at sporting clubs through the Goodsports program.
- Reinforcing the affects recreational drugs have on driving.
- Promoting the Driver Reviver program over holidays to reduce driver fatigue.
Safer motorbike riders
Compared with car drivers, motorcyclists are at least 30 times more likely to die or be injured if involved in an accident. With motorcycle riders on the increase in Victoria, we have set up Spokes, a website specifically aimed at motorcycle riders providing information about all aspects of safe riding.
Motorcycle rider safety information available on Spokes includes:
- Keeping to speed limits
- Wearing suitable protective clothing
- Riding scooters safely
- Riding for the road conditions
- Not riding when tired or fatigued
We also provide motorcycle riders with a free online tool Ride Smart, designed by experienced motorcycle trainers to take riders through a series of exercises to brush up decision making and hazard perception skills in a variety of locations – around town, on the freeway and in rural areas.
Our funded programs for safer motorcyclists 2012-2013 include:
- A focus on weekend riding safety.
- Promoting the use of protective clothing to reduce injuries, as well as undertake a pilot testing program for the protective motorcycle clothing available on the market.
- Sponsorship of the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix at Phillip Island with a focus on protective clothing.
- Taking part in the Motorcycle Expo Melbourne with a focus on protective clothing and promoting the Spokes website.
- A three year project looking at motorcycles in the whole transport system.
- A partnership with the Department of Sustainability and Environment to better understand off-road motorcycling safety issues.
Safer road users
Road safety is not only limited to drivers – road use involves the whole community and everyone is part of the road safety culture.
- Children under 14 years, adults over 60 years and people influenced by alcohol are high risk pedestrians, particularly in busy, built up environments.
- Distraction has been identified as a major risk factor. This can be countered by parents and schools providing road safety education, lowering speed limits to protect pedestrians and creating environments that are safe for cycling and walking.
- Cyclists are vulnerable on the road because of their lack of protection if involved in a crash. Cyclists and pedestrians are featuring more often in road trauma statistics.
- The TAC contributes to ongoing research and education campaigns that promote cycling safety.
- Motorised scooters are becoming more common on the road as the population ages. As they travel over 10km/hr, all scooters must be registered as vehicles and travel on footpaths, shared paths or the side of the road if there isn't a footpath.
- Educating our new drivers to drive safely is a key to encouraging a positive road safety culture. Learner drivers must undertake 120 hours of driving experience in all conditions so they understand their responsibility on the road.
- As the population ages, older road users are at a greater risk of being killed or seriously injured in a crash because of frailty or medical conditions.
- The TAC supports programs that allow ageing road users to self regulate their driving by having regular health checks, as well as educating family and friends to monitor the capability of older drivers close to them.
Our funded programs promoting safe people 2012-2013 include:
- Continuing to educate parents and care givers about the importance of road safety and understanding their role in developing a child's safety behaviour.
- Educating children via the road safety character, ThingleToodle as well as promotions to kindergartens and childcare centres.
- Researching the behaviour of children in cars to help with child road safety needs in vehicles.
- Providing support for school-based programs to enable teachers to help students work towards understanding and preventing risky behaviour.
- Promoting the Speed Hurts message via the TAC Cup, with the aim of making speeding as socially unacceptable as drink driving.
- Promoting and updating Drive Smart, a free online training program for learner drivers. Supporting the L2P program which helps disadvantaged young people gain the required 120 hours practice for their probationary licence.
- Researching risk taking behaviour among young drivers and ways to influence this behaviour.
- Undertaking campaigns aimed at encouraging parents and care givers to be positive role models as drivers.
- Creating public awareness campaign about the dangers of distractions – phones, navigation systems in cars and using iPods as pedestrians.
- Focusing on reducing the accident risk for aging road users.
- Ongoing support of policing drink driving, drug driving and speeding in high risk areas and at high risk times of the year.