Professional Leadership and Advocacy in the Reduction of Road Trauma
The many activities of the RACS Trauma Committee are an excellent example of the value of
professional leadership and advocacy in reducing road trauma.
?It is the profession which sees the aftermath of a road accident, the aftermath of the split
second in which it happened, the horrible and irreversible mutilation, the griefs, the brave
attempts to repair, the heartbreaking rehabilitation. And it is the profession which must help
find a solution to this problem, a cure for a disease of the community that has reached a
significant magnitude.? ESR Hughes, first Chairman of the Royal Australasian College of
Surgeons? (RACS) standing committee on Road Trauma quoted in the Medical Journal of
Australia in 1975 (Hughes, 1975).
Over 30 years later, the RACS Trauma Committee not only advise on preventative measures
but also on improvement in the management and care of the injured. The number of
organisations with valuable road safety expertise has escalated since the early 1970s, when
road deaths per 100,000 of population peaked in Australia (Figure 1). Today the College of
Surgeons is just one of a number of concerned lobby groups, striving to achieve prevention of
fatality and serious injury due to road crashes. Figure 1 summarises the significant activities
of the College, and the gains made as a result of campaigns by the College and others in
reducing the road toll in Australia and New Zealand.
Both the national Road Trauma Advisory Subcommittee and the Victorian Road Trauma
Committee (VRTC) are free of pressures from insurers, employers, politicians or financial
groups and therefore their opinions are free of vested interest. This is evident in the way in
which the College deals with all road safety issues.