ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Desperately Seeking Safety: Community Engagement

Iasiello, M

Community

2008

This paper focuses on the vital role of the process of community engagement, in enabling community road safety groups to participate in assisting the South Australian Government to achieve its (and the nation?s) target of less than 90 fatalities and 000 serious injuries by 00. ?The South Australian Road Safety Action Plan 008-00 recognises the importance of community engagement and participation in road safety. This will involve working more closely with Community Road Safety Groups and Local Government so that we can better target road safety initiatives and programs in communities.? The culture of road safety has changed significantly in South Australia and with the current emphasis on road safety being everyone?s responsibility, the role of community road safety groups is more acknowledged now by the Government than ever before. South Australia has a history of community engagement in road safety beginning in 1987 when the Road Safety Division of the Department of Road Transport (as DTEI was then known) along with the Local Government Association of the day endorsed the formation of committees each with their own constitution, membership, funding, administration, aims, functions and the like. This initiative was unsuccessful due to changes in government policy, and in 1999, following the acceptance of a report ?Best Practice Review of Community Road Safety Programs? by the government of the day, the Community Road Safety Program commenced in South Australia. This report defined ?continuing participation of the community in road safety initiatives?as the community actively pursuing identification of their road safety needs, making decisions about how to solve them and establishing mechanisms to meet these needs using local and state resources and program evaluation. The Community Road Safety Program commenced in 999 with a handful of groups that had already been established since the late 90?s and one road safety officer. Since that time the program has grown to 7 community road safety groups and the equivalent of full-time road safety officers. These volunteer groups are in the main independently incorporated committees, supported by stakeholders such as DTEI, SA Police, Emergency Services, Council, Health and Education.