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AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (WA)
The Australian Medical Association (WA) has welcomed RAC WA’s Elephant in the Wheatbelt campaign, aimed at tackling high road fatality rates in regional Western Australia.
AMA (WA) President Dr Michael Gannon said the life-sized elephant made from the parts of crashed cars was certain to make an impact and spark a conversation on the excessively high number of fatalities in the Wheatbelt area.
“Medical Practitioners regularly – often first hand – see the devastating impact of road trauma on our community, and while there has been a measurable decrease in death and serious injuries on Australian roads over the past decade, WA has lagged behind other states,” Dr Gannon said.
“In 2014 WA again had the worst fatality rate of any State and the statistics are frightening.
“Tragically, on average, one person died on Western Australian roads last year every two days and in regional areas like the Wheatbelt, the road fatality rate was over twice the Regional WA rate, six times the WA rate, and 11 times the metropolitan rate.
“We need to consider not only the tragedy of road deaths, but the extended burden of catastrophic injury, with the sometimes lifelong cost of rehabilitation, mental health problems, side effects from prescription drug use, loss of productivity, and cost to carers and loved ones.
“What’s frustrating is that a recent review, commissioned by the RAC, found that no single issue clearly differentiated the Wheatbelt from nearby neighbours.
“This means the myths regarding the causes of accidents need to be addressed and dismissed.
“For example it is assumed that a large number of fatalities on roads in the Wheatbelt are due to visitors unfamiliar with the roads, night-time driving or occur most often around corners.
“These assumptions are entirely false, and it means we need to go back to the drawing board and work out why these completely preventable incidents are happening.
“This is why the AMA (WA) will now work alongside RAC to call for a collaborative and integrated approach to road safety at all levels including local community groups through to the State Government.
“The AMA’s aim is work effectively with the RAC, Members of Parliament, and the community to address this significant issue within the Wheatbelt region.
“Working together is the only way that we can reduce the impact of road trauma on the community,” Dr Gannon said.
For more information on the RAC WA’s campaign, please click here.