Truck industry researcher wins top safety award

By: Steve Skinner

Fatigue expert and former RSRT member recognised for outstanding contribution to road safety

Truck industry researcher wins top safety award
Professor Ann Williamson with Lauchlan McIntosh (left) and Darren Chester.


Well-known truck industry researcher Professor Ann Williamson has taken out Australia’s top gong for road safety professionals.

Prof Williamson is director of the Transport and Road Safety Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, and amongst other areas has been researching truck driver fatigue for decades.

She was awarded the prestigious 2016 Australasian College of Road Safety Fellowship during an awards ceremony in front of more than 500 people at Parliament House in Canberra this week.

The awards were part of the annual Australasian Road Safety Conference.

The Australasian College of Road Safety includes academics, researchers, government officials, community organisations and private companies.

Its president is former long-time executive director of the Australian Automobile Association, Lauchlan McIntosh AM.

"Professor Williamson has contributed enormously to excellence in road safety research and to providing a strong evidence base for effective road safety interventions," McIntosh said.

Adds an ACRS press release: "Professor Williamson’s personal commitment has seen her contribute her own time to various road safety and injury prevention committees and to State and Federal Parliamentary road safety inquiries."

The press release doesn’t mention it, but Prof Williamson was also a part-time member of the ill-fated Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT).

Her award was presented by a member of the same Coalition Government which axed the RSRT – Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Darren Chester.

Addressing the conference, Chester warned of community complacency on road safety, with death and serious injuries on the rise.

"Australia has done an incredible job of reducing road trauma over the past 50 years but we have to redouble our efforts," he said.

"Hospital data indicates that road crash related injuries appear to have been increasing for some time.

"Tragically, road deaths are also increasing, with 1,292 people killed in the 12 months to July this year, compared to 1,171 people killed in 12 months prior to July 2015.

"This latest data should serve as a call to action for us all – we are not on target to reach the National Road Safety Strategy targets and we are failing in our efforts to keep Australians safe on our roads.

"We have to make this personal and we have to shake off the national complacency and acceptance which I believe is contributing to the growth in road trauma."

More on this, plus details of Prof Williamson’s keynote address and an exclusive interview with her in the next issue of ATN.


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