Road Trauma Essay
Road Trauma; two little words, that pack an almighty punch into the lives and families of those affected by vehicle accidents. A definition by the Australian Academy of Science: “The word ‘trauma’ is especially appropriate to describe the injuries inflicted by road crashes. The medical profession uses it for any bodily injury or wound, but more literally it means ‘a powerful shock that may have long-lasting effects’ – an apt description for the sudden violence of a road crash”. (NOVA: Australian Academy of Science- Road Trauma Prevention).
Trauma is the hidden tragedy of the road. We have become accustomed and almost numb to hearing about the devastatingly high death toll; although unpleasant, crash fatalities are becoming an increasing circumstance and an unwanted occurrence for today’s generations. “There is limited, to no physical control over that types of injuries may be inflicted upon a victim in a road crash: from ruptured spleens to severed limbs, broken skulls/ severe whiplash and injuries to the brain and spinal cord, and fractured ribs”- explains the team at Nova’s road trauma unit.
The shocking truth about the outcomes of being in a near fatal car accident is that the recovery from these grievances can take years of treatment, physiotherapy, medications and therapy, but the physical and psychological pain may never go away for both the wounded and their loved ones. (NOVA: Australian Academy of Science- Road Trauma Prevention). “There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds. ” ? Laurell K. Hamilton, Mistral’s Kiss
Australia, the seventh largest continent in the world, is homed to over 20,434,176 people. Research suggests that every year on Australian roads approximately 1,600 fatalities, and over 50,000 injuries occur. These are astonishing numbers, much alike the statistics found by The Southern Australian Road Safety Strategy, which places road crashes as the second highest known killer of young people aged 16 to 25 years old. For every road death it is estimated that an average 1,700 people are killed in road crashes each year.
The Journey Beyond Road Trauma: Classroom Resources). Road trauma does not only affect the emotional state of mind of those affected and their families; it also influences the members of both communities, both big and small. A problematic issue which requires appropriate financial necessities, with the cost of road trauma costing Queensland community tax payers a whopping excess of one billion dollars per year; the increasing number of drivers being killed each year has become a bourdon for the Queensland Government and overall Australian society. QLD Government: Police and Road Trauma Prevention Strategies).
In accordance to the statistic that almost 1,700 people are killed on Australian roads each year, it is three times more likely for drivers aged between 16 to 25 years be seriously injured or killed in a car accident, leaving them at more risk than drivers above the age of 35, who are additionally more experienced, proficient, knowledgeable and qualified to abide by the road rules at all times.
Another attributing motive towards the deaths of younger drivers on our roads is the fact that young drivers are 75% more likely to participate in risk taking behaviours on the roads. This compulsion and tendency to par take in risk taking comportments comes with the freedom and independence getting your licence. It is a common component of becoming a young adult, but for far too many reckless motorists, the desire results can lead to serious injuries and even death on the roads. (The South Australian Road Safety Strategy 2003-2010).
The Fatal Five’ is a highly recommended set of guidelines created by the Northern Territory Police Force, to help recognise the causes of casualties, and hopefully reduce the accident toll on Australia’s roads. According to the Northern Territory Police Force, the varying causes of dangerous factors that can potentially increase the chance of being in a vehicle accident include: Speeding, drink and drug use while driving, failure to wear seatbelts/ restraints of any kind, fatigue, inattention, and poor road use behaviour/ amateurish knowledge of road rules.
These five spectacles of endangerment are the reasons for almost 5,000 teens in the 16 to 20 age group being eradicated each year as a result of a car crash, and over 400,000 teenagers being injured in the same age group. Southern Australian Police illustrate the most potential causes of death, via the ‘Fatal Five’ system were driving while under the influence of alcohol and speeding. In 2010, out of the male population drivers aged 15 to 20 killed in car crashes, 38% were speeding and 24% were under the influence of alcohol. (The South Australian Road Safety Strategy 2003-2010), (Autos. om: Driving and Safety- Car Crash Statistics Based on Age and Location).
A continuous exploitation and abuse of the five most dangerous factors on Australia’s roads can potentially affect anyone sharing the road with a participant of risk taking. This report aims to analyse the extent of road risk taking behaviours, evaluate the current measures in place to address road risk taking behaviour, and make helpful recommendations on additional resources and strategies that would minimise road trauma and the associated long term community health concerns.
Queensland is Australia’s second largest state; covering 1, 77200 km’s, and the third most heavily populated, with more than 4. 5 million inhabited residents. Queensland’s desirable lifestyle ensures that its current population of over 4. 5 million continues to grow and prosper. Brisbane, the capital, is located in the south-eastern corner of the state. Queensland is often referred to as ‘The Sunshine State’, due to its warm weather and low rainfall all year round. Queensland has a growing economy that is based mainly on tourism, mining and agriculture.
The Regions of Queensland refers to the environmental sub- dividers in which the state is apportioned amongst, due to its large size and highly distributed population for both numerical and administrative commitments. Each region differs somewhat in terms of its financial prudence, population, temperature, and geography. (Wikipedia: Queensland). The Wide Bay Burnett is regarded as one of roughly eleven regions, by The Queensland Government Office of Economic and Statistical Research.
It is classified as the costal and hinterland areas between Caloundra and Gladstone, and is approximately between 107 and 400 kilometres north of Queensland’s capital city, Brisbane. According to The Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Wide Bay region is homed to 273,267 people; 134,783 males and 138,484 females, with a median age of 43. (Census: For a Brighter Future). This previous statistic evidences that this region as a whole, should have a safer road status due to its higher intermediate age group.
This pleasant statement is doubted, since drivers and passengers between the ages of 16 and 25 are over-represented on the Wide Bay’s road toll, especially in 2007; while taking the number of young drivers into consideration (14% of the population), they represent 37% of passengers, and 28% of drivers killed. Also documented in 2007 was the 1,600 young drivers and passengers seriously injured on the Wide Bays roads. (Australian Bureau of Statistics: Leading Causes of Death in Queensland).
These shocking figures are hard to comprehend until you recognize that this small farming region is homed to one of Australia’s most dangerous stretches of road: The Bruce Highway. The Bruce Highway, according to the ABC Wide Bay, stretches 1,550 kilometres along the Queensland coast, connecting Brisbane to the states north. This area of road is classified as a major danger spot for motorists by The Australian Automobile Association (AAA). (ABC Wide Bay: Road Toll Statistics).
The Bruce Highway has become a detrimental health factor to not only the community inhabiting the Wide Bay, but also to its many visiting tourists, who are unfamiliar and inexperienced with the current road conditions, which according to Road Trauma. Com, “57% of fatal accidents are possibly caused by poor road conditions, which is the fourth highest cause in the top ten causes of car accidents in the Wide Bay region”. (Cars/ Road Trauma. Com).
The ABC Wide Bay road toll also proved that “the Bruce Highway saw the highest level of road trauma on the Queensland national highway network, accounting for 50 per cent of casualty crashes and 61 per cent of deaths from 2005 to 2009”. (ABC Wide Bay: Road Toll Statistics). Road Trauma has become a foremost cause of death and indisposition amongst the Wide Bay community, with risk taking developing into an unnecessary reason for morality. This is contributing to the road trauma statistics and therefore is detrimental to the health of the community. (Census: For a Brighter Future).