2 minute read
Easter has long been a deadly time on Australian roads, with nine people alone dying on Easter Saturday last year. In total 24 Australians lost their lives on our roads during a period of less than a week over the holiday. That means an extra seven people died on the roads than the expected national average that long weekend.
Some people will look at this number and see 0.0001% of our population as an almost insignificant amount. But it’s not insignificant because they were still people that were looking forward to the holiday and seeing their families. Every person that lost their lives that weekend was a life lost too soon, leaving a family trying to find a way to move forward.
One of these was a five-year-old in NSW who was on his way to meet his mother for the holiday. He may have been less than a millionth of our population, but his was still a life. One that wouldn’t get to finish school, or get a job, or fall in love, get married, find a passion, have an 18th; get drunk – turn six.
However, there is good in this awful statistic. In 1989, the year that the Australian Road Deaths Database begins, there was 49 deaths over the same period. That means that has been more than a 30% decrease of the rate of road crashes resulting in death over the Easter period within many of our lifetimes. This is a number that we can continue to improve upon.
Advancements in technology over the past decade means that cars are now the safest they have ever been. This combined with seatbelt laws and minimum safety requirements means that our cars are no longer the killers, but we are. We now need to focus our attention on ourselves.
Driving and changing the song on our phone can take a life. Trying to get breakfast in while on the way to our holiday means that it could be our last meal. Turning around to yell at the kids because one tried to crack an Easter egg on the other’s head can have deadly consequences.
It’s difficult to unlearn these behaviours, because when it comes down to it, in the moment they seem like the easiest solution. But to ensure that you can keep listening to new songs and so that your kids are around to annoy you; so you can keep having family holidays, you need to drive without distractions. So, this means sometimes pulling over to tell the kids off, or just waiting out the song you hate, because that short term gain means nothing in the long run.
While many of us also believe that we should be aiming for a road toll of zero, many also believe that the goal is unattainable. But our efforts are still resulting in lives saved which is what matters most.
So, before we take off on our journeys this year, please ensure that all possible distractions are removed. That our phone is off, that we are well-rested, that we are below the limit, and don’t speed, so that this year we can continue to improve on reducing the road toll even more and maybe save a five-year-old boy.
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