The Fatality Free Friday Road Safety Campaign: A strategy for mobilising community ownership to improve road safety
Fatality Free Friday has continued to cement its position as Australia’s only national community based road safety program. The campaign commenced in 2007 as part of the first United Nations Global Road Safety Week and utilises a Community Mobilization Strategy to encourage public and corporate participation. The 2013 campaign was the most successful to date in terms of community awareness and engagement. Fatality Free Friday is an annual national campaign that has successfully engaged community action with numerous road safety stake holders. The campaign provides a focal point to help engage community activity whilst also providing a central and consistent theme for individual road safety activities. The primary goal of the campaign is to ensure that there are no road crash fatalities around Australia on a specific target day in May each year. It is a call to action that serves as a platform for a targeted and ongoing approach to road safety nationally. In addition to signing the Fatality Free Friday Pledge, participants can also choose to host their own events and campaigns locally. Doing this has allowed schools, councils, local road safety coordinators, government organisations and corporate groups to increase their focus on road safety and link in with a national event. This has created a number of opportunities for people to actively participate in reducing road trauma and helped facilitate greater community ownership at the local, state and national levels. Road safety is a complex issue but we believe that if drivers consciously think about road safety and safe driving for just one Friday in the year, that day's toll - statistically about 5.3 deaths - could be reduced to zero. Just one ‘Fatality Free Friday’. Ultimately, it is our aim to use this approach to improve road safety awareness not only on one specific day, but every day of the year. Over the longer term, the aim of the campaign is to facilitate a cultural change in road user behaviour and establish a new paradigm in road safety. One that sees the road users themselves as a vital part of the solution. This type of approach has been successfully used in other fields. Examples of these programs include environmental and community campaigns. There is strong evidence to suggest that these campaigns have been highly effective in not only raising community awareness on a specific issue but are also successful in actively facilitating public action to assist in addressing the issue. Whist there has been some research into community based campaigns, little research is available on the full scope of this kind campaign in terms of road safety. However, based on the studies that are available and the growing body of evidence from previous campaigns, Fatality Free Friday has demonstrated to be a highly effective road safety program and worthy of further research.