Austroads releases new research and guidelines to help prevent road transport suicide

Austroads has published a new research report detailing current statistics and the best measures to prevent suicides on Australian and New Zealand roads.

The report, Road Transport Suicide Prevention, is the first of its kind to be published by Austroads and takes a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding the best measures to prevent suicide attempts on Australian and New Zealand roads.

Suicides involving road transport are relatively rare but each death is a tragic and an avoidable loss.

The research found that the impact of suicide can have a significant impact on family, friends, colleagues and communities, as well as road system users, such as drivers and passengers, first responders and witnesses. It found suicides on the road transport network touch a far wider number of working professions than may have been first thought.

“In Australia, it is estimated that between one and seven per cent of motor vehicle fatalities may be the consequence of intentional actions to take one’s own life,” said Austroads Road Safety and Design Program Manager, Michael Nieuwesteeg.

The report argues that with improved communication and better safety and preventative measures, this is a statistic that can be lowered.

The report provides a comprehensive review of current suicide prevention methods used both in the road transport network and in other, high-risk areas. It includes comprehensive guidelines for safe communication about suicide for government agencies, industry stakeholders and the media.

“It is important to understand that communication about suicide has the potential to do harm and it needs to approached with caution. But the research shows that effective communication can make a difference.”

“The research project was a significant collaborative effort involving more than 100 partners. It shows how working together and shared responsibility is crucial to understanding the problem and  reducing suicide.”

“This research is a critical step towards addressing an issue that has often been overlooked. It supports different stakeholders to work together to save lives on Australian and New Zealand roads,” Michael said.

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