Road Safety Knowledge Exchange and Capacity Building Between China and Australia

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Ann Yuan
Judy Fleiter

Road traffic injuries are one of the major public health burdens worldwide. The United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011-2020) implores all nations to work to reduce this burden. We know that low and middle-income countries experience the majority of the road trauma burden. China is one of the countries experiencing a large road trauma burden. Vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists make up a large proportion of fatalities and injuries in China. Speeding, impaired/drug driving, distracted driving, vehicle overloading, inadequate road infrastructure, limited use of safety restraints and helmets, and limited road safety training have all been identified as contributing to the problem. Some important steps have been taken to strengthen China’s approach, including increased penalties for drunk driving in May 2011 and increased attention to school bus safety in 2011/12. This paper provides details of a program to assist with road safety knowledge exchange between China and Australia that was funded by the Australian Government which was undertaken in the latter part of 2012. An in-depth understanding was gained about key road safety strategies in Australia and processes for developing and implementing them. Insights were also gained into the mechanisms used for road safety policy development, implementation and evaluation in several Australian jurisdictions. Road traffic law and enforcement issues were explored with the relevant jurisdictional transport and police agencies to provide a greater understanding of how Chinese laws and practices could be enhanced. Working with agencies responsible for public education and awareness campaigns about road safety in Australia also provided relevant information about how to promote road safety at the broader community level in China. Finally, the program provided opportunities to work closely with several world-renowned Australian research centres and key expert researchers to enhance opportunities for ongoing road safety research in China.

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