From the President November 2016

RACV RoyalAuto magazine

RACV President Kevin White

RACV is constantly seeking to provide initiatives that benefit our 2.1 million members in areas as diverse as motoring and cycling, travel and leisure, and for the home.

I am pleased to advise that we have launched RACV Car Share, which can help take the worry out of how members can get around when they are in central Melbourne and surrounds.

We have launched a small trial, based at the RACV City Club car park, New Chancery Lane, to test interest in a larger car share initiative from RACV. Members can join at racvcarshare.com.au for free, and then they will be able to book a car by the hour.

Victoria has a long and proud history in road safety. Decades of strong commitment by state governments have placed Victoria among the safest jurisdictions in the world. However, too many are still dying or being seriously injured. This year has been terrible with far too many lives lost. At the end of September, 218 people had lost their lives, 30 more than the same time last year. That’s 218 families facing a future without a loved one.

Last month, RoyalAuto published Impact, a multi-platform journalism piece on road trauma. Impact highlighted that, in addition to those who die on our roads, about 6000 are badly injured each year.

Any death or serious injury on our roads is one too many. People will make errors of judgment or mistakes when driving or riding. But mistakes should not result in major trauma or death.

RACV supports the Safe System approach in which improving the safety of road users, vehicles and roads is of mutual importance. Building safer roads and promoting the purchase of safer vehicles will help reduce the risk of crashes caused by human error.

It has been estimated that nearly half of current road deaths could be prevented through safer roads. RACV is a partner in the Australian Road Assessment Program (AusRAP), which is dedicated to ensuring the design of roads protects drivers, passengers, riders and pedestrians. Roads can be made safer with features such as rumble strips along the edge and centre lines, sealed shoulders, and barriers to prevent collisions with roadside objects or head-on crashes. Bicycle riders are safest when separated from traffic, and more off-road paths and separated on-road lanes should be provided. Governments need to invest more in safer roads in Victoria.

Research shows that if every motorist bought a vehicle with best-in-class safety features, the rate of serious injury could reduce by 40 per cent. For example, autonomous emergency braking (AEB) has the potential to reduce fatal crashes by 20-25 per cent and injury crashes by 25-35 per cent. Manufacturers need to include the latest safety features, such as lane departure warnings, collision avoidance systems and AEB as standard and not as expensive extras. Governments can speed up this process and make safety features more affordable by making them mandatory.

RACV aims to encourage governments to design and build safer roads, encourage motorists to buy safer cars and to raise awareness and promote safe driving and road user behaviour. Together, we can all strive for a future where no one dies or is seriously injured on our roads because of a simple mistake.

Kevin W White, President & Chairman of the Board