TIME FOR CHANGE: Roadcraft has been at the heart of two previous attempts to change legislation to reduce fatalities.
TIME FOR CHANGE: Roadcraft has been at the heart of two previous attempts to change legislation to reduce fatalities. Renee Albrecht

20 years on, hope for road safety reform remains

THIRD time is usually the charm, and former Roadcraft staff member Robin Bailey hopes tradition holds.

A key force behind a 2015 push for new legislation as part of a federal inquiry into road safety in Australia, Mr Bailey was "disillusioned" by the outcome.

"They were not even interested in hearing what we had to say," he said.

He hopes for a different outcome now, and not just because it has been more than 20 years since life-saving research revealed an extra second of space made a staggering difference to safety. It is research which now forms the heart of Roadcraft's program but is yet to be adopted in Australia's licence training.

"People are dying for the sake of half a second," MrBailey said.

"If everybody understands that, we'd reduce our crashes by at least 50 per cent straightaway."

This program was the focal point of the 2015 submissions which he said was vastly different from the first crack made at reform in 2002.

Endorsed by a group which included Councillors Mick Vernardos and Wayne Scahs, Gympie Times deputy editor Nev McHarg and Police Sergeant Peter Webster, the 2002 campaign was driven by community concern over road fatality rates in the region.

This included 13 fatalities of 17- to 24-year-olds in the Cooloola Shire between 1997-2001, a shocking 43 per cent of the fatalities in the area.

The submission was presented to the State Minister for Education Anna Bligh.

Despite heavy support, no new legislation was introduced.

Roadcraft CEO Sharlene Makin hopes this will change soon, especially given Mr Bailey's outstanding efforts in 2015.

While she appreciated that governments continued their efforts to reduce the road toll, she said it would take comprehensive change to the system before it happened.