[SA] Pedestrians targeted in new safety campaign

By: Chris Smith

Pedestrians are being urged not to be complacent when crossing roads in a new metropolitan radio campaign that starts this

Pedestrians are being urged not to be complacent when crossing roads in a new metropolitan radio campaign that starts this week.

South Australian Road Safety Minister, Carmel Zollo, says that pedestrian assessment of risk and good judgement when crossing roads play an important role.

"This campaign focuses on pedestrians taking responsibility for their own safety," the Minister says.

"Pedestrians must not assume motorists will always give way and should allow adequate time to cross a road at a safe location.

"Use signals wherever possible and cross where oncoming traffic can be seen from both directions."

Minister Zollo says although a new report by the Centre for Automotive Safety Research (CASR) shows there has been a "recent and substantial reduction in pedestrian casualty crashes", any death or serious injury is of concern.

The CASR research shows:

In the three years 1994, 1995 and 1996 there were 94 pedestrian deaths (around 18 percent of all road deaths) and 1386 pedestrians were treated at or admitted to hospital (8 percent of all road casualties).

In comparison, in 2004, 2005 and 2006 there were 32 pedestrian deaths (around 8 percent of all road deaths) and 1058 recorded treatments and admissions to hospital (6 percent of all road casualties).

These declines may be explained in part by lower urban speed limits.

"This is an encouraging trend but certainly no reason for complacency," Zollo says.

"Pedestrians need to remain alert to what’s happening around them - part of that is being aware that alcohol greatly impairs the ability to judge traffic conditions.

"Around 36% percent of adult pedestrians killed and 26 percent of those injured since 2000 had blood alcohol concentrations higher than 0.05.

"Motorists are urged to always look out for pedestrians and adjust speeds in high-risk areas such as shopping and entertainment districts."

Motor Accident Commission (MAC) Corporate Affairs Manager, Ben Tuffnell, says pedestrians are vulnerable road users and often sustain serious injuries in road crashes.

"Around 300 personal injury claims are lodged by pedestrians who are involved in road crashes," Tuffnell says.

"This makes up about 5% of total claims but equates to 11 percent of claims costs or around $40 million each year. This is a tragic indication that pedestrian injuries are often severe.

"Our (MAC) research showed that pedestrians use personal judgement of a situation to assess risk. If they perceived the situation was safe they would cross wherever they wanted to.

"Our campaign targets older pedestrians aged 60 and over as well as intoxicated pedestrians, particularly males aged 17-25 years. These two pedestrian groups are most at risk of being injured or killed.

"The campaign will also focus on the metropolitan Adelaide area as this is where 87 percent of pedestrian casualties occur and where most of the pedestrian activity exists."

The radio campaign is supported by bathroom posters, outdoor and print advertising.

The State Government has set a target of less than 90 fatalities, and less than 1000 serious injuries by the end of 2010.

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