Regional visits spark Fatal 5 conversations

22 May, 2023

Regional communities were on RAA’s agenda during National Road Safety Week (NRSW) last week, aiming to raise awareness of the Fatal 5 and encourage communities to talk about the ‘elephant in the room’ – road safety.

Five striking inflatable elephants were positioned in Clare, Victor Harbor, the Barossa Valley and Yorke Peninsula, adorned with visual representations of the Fatal 5.

Identified as the primary causes of road trauma in South Australia, the Fatal 5 are distraction (including mobile phone usage), speed, dangerous road users, not wearing seatbelts and driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. By highlighting these key factors, RAA aimed to start conversations and encourage people to rethink their own driving behaviour, and that of their loved ones.

NRSW, an annual initiative spearheaded by the Safer Australian Roads and Highways (SARAH) Group, aims to commemorate those who have lost their lives or suffered injuries on Australia’s roads.

RAA’s Senior Manager of Road Safety, Charles Mountain, stressed the importance of encouraging conversations about road safety.

“To bring about change, we must confront the issue head-on. RAA hopes that our elephants prompt people to pause, reflect and engage in conversations about road safety,” said Mr. Mountain.

“We all know someone who may use their phone while driving, exceed the speed limit or engage in one of the other Fatal 5 behaviours. It’s crucial for people to discuss and understand that any of these behaviours significantly increases the risk of a crash.”

The campaign’s significance is reinforced by alarming crash statistics around the Fatal 5 – inattention has been identified as a contributing factor in at least a third of fatal or serious injury crashes, while excessive speed is linked to over a quarter of such incidents. Shockingly, this year alone, 53 lives have been lost on South Australian roads, a notable increase compared to the same period in 2022 when the toll stood at 33.

The inflatable elephants, now iconic symbols of road safety awareness, were welcomed in the regional communities RAA visited last week, with locals and visitors sharing personal stories of having experienced road trauma themselves, expressing concern about what they see on the roads and pledging to prioritise safe driving practices.

NRSW is a powerful reminder that road safety is everyone’s responsibility. By confronting the ‘elephant in the room’ and openly discussing the Fatal 5, communities have taken a major step towards creating safer roads for all.

As the week concludes, we hope these conversations will continue to resonate and inspire positive behavioural changes, ultimately reducing road trauma and saving lives.