National Road Safety Forum
On Friday August 24th, Peter and Emma Cockburn attended the National Road Safety forum at Parliament House, at the invitation of Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon. Catherine King MP. Their attendance included a presentation during the Driveway Safety section of the forum, where Peter and Emma told the story of the loss of their daughter Georgina in a Low Speed Vehicle Run-over accident, to assist in putting a human face to the statistics that were discussed during the day.
During the opening plenary session, the Hon. Catherine King released a report on the statistics titled ‘Child Pedestrian Safety: ‘driveway deaths’ and ‘low speed vehicle run-overs, Australia, 2001-10.’ (Available at www.bitre.gov.au.) This report states seven children under 15 years, are killed, and sixty seriously injured, on average each year in accidents involving a vehicle moving around the home.
Other speakers during the Driveway Safety Section included:
Dr Roy Kimble- Centre for Children’s Burns and Trauma Research, University of Queensland
Gary Shapcott –Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics
Eric Chalmers- Kidsafe ACT
Christine Withers- Office of Child Safety Commissioner, Victoria
Robert McDonald- IAG Research Centre
Craig Filmer- Young Shire Council
Among the topics discussed were the statistics and the need for further research, also the difficulties in data collection; the new report released that day; the messaging and the need for consistency, avenues for education, and perhaps a small working group dedicated to the issue and education/awareness; the recently released Victorian campaign and such work that has been conducted in Victoria; vehicular research and the NRMA reversibility index, the need for more research regarding rear visibility and reversing cameras; local planning and inclusions in local government policy.
Mr Craig Filmer, Director Planning, Environment and Strategic Services from Young Shire Council, discussed the proposed changes for Young Shire Council’s Development Control Plan, that will include a section on separating an attached garage from a dwelling by including inward swinging heavier doors, self-closers and higher door handles, and if an automatic roller door is in place, an electronic isolation switch. These changes are already in the draft DCP for Young.
On the day a new Driveway Safety brochure was released by the Australian Government Depart of Infrastructure and Transport and the National Road Safety Council. This brochure is available from the department on their website at http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/ .
One of the most positive feelings the Cockburns gained from this forum is that Low Speed Vehicle Run-Overs and Driveway Safety is now firmly on the national government’s agenda, and looks likely to be on the international agenda as well.