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Funding for road trauma data another step towards safer Australian roads

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Road Trauma Support WA, a free service providing specialised grief and trauma counselling to any individuals affected by road trauma in Western Australia, welcomes the Government’s commitment to fund the Australian Trauma Registry.

The Registry will gather more comprehensive data on the number and type of severe injuries due to road crashes and allow governments to plan and implement better road safety strategies across WA and the rest of the country.

In a recent announcement, the Australian Government said it would provide $450,000 over three years in a joint statement delivered by the Prime Minister The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport The Hon. Darren Chester MP and the Minister for Health and Aged Care, The Hon. Sussan Ley MP.

The move comes after the Australian Automobile Association and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons joined together this year to advocate for further investment in the registry to help combat the country’s rising road toll.

Road trauma costs Australian taxpayers around $27 billion a year, and accounts for roughly 18 per cent of health expenditure, according to figures put forward by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons earlier this year.

In its submission to the Federal Government, a spokesman said it was crucial to understand the cause, place and type of injury to allow governments to implement effective injury reduction strategies.

Road Trauma Support WA Manager, Sandy Lukjanowski, said investment in services like the trauma registry were crucial at a time when the road toll is experiencing a spike in most States in Australia.

“Unfortunately, like many other States across the country, we have experienced a significant increase in the number of those killed and injured on WA roads this year,” she said.

“Until we really understand why this is happening and look at the underlying causes and data from road crashes, this is only likely to increase.”

The road toll in Western Australia this year stands at 172 fatalities for the year to date, compared to 150 at the same time last year with a shocking 107 on country roads.1

“Unfortunately we see people every day whose lives are torn apart in an instant by the devastating effects of road trauma.

“The effects of road trauma and far reaching and devastating, impacting not only the lives of those directly involved but their families, friends, colleagues and communities at a huge social and financial cost.”

Ms Lukjanowski said as we head into traditionally the worst period on our roads over the Christmas and New Year period, she urged drivers to take responsibility for their own behaviour on our roads and enjoy the holiday period.

For more information about the impact of road trauma in Western Australia visit: http://knowinjury.org.au/know/road-trauma/

  1. Figures current as at 6/12/2016 Road Safety Commission WA