Fatality-free day inflates hopes

THE Shellharbour community has thrown its support behind Fatality Free Friday, to be held on May 30.

The national road safety campaign will bring a travelling, life-sized inflatable car to the area to raise awareness.

Mayor Marianne Saliba was one of the first to sign the specially-designed inflatable car at Stockland Shellharbour in support of the Australian Road Safety Foundation campaign.

She was joined by members of the fire brigade, SES, police, Shellharbour City Council general manager Michael Willis and Paralympian Brett Stibners to launch the campaign.

The most recent statistics from 2012 indicate Shellharbour recorded a total of 306 vehicle crashes, with almost half resulting in injury and one fatality.

During the same year, there were increases in the number of motorcyclists, passengers and pedestrians killed in road accidents throughout NSW.

Provisional figures for 2013 indicate that the state road toll was 339 - the lowest since 1924.

"Any death caused by a vehicle accident on our roads is one too many," Cr Saliba said.

"We all play a part in the safety of ourselves and each person on our road, and we need to take responsibility for our actions. The message that road safety is in the hands of every road user is an important one for the whole community to understand."

NSW Traffic and Highway Patrol officer Kevin Hood also applauded the campaign.

"It's a fantastic initiative and we applaud anything that highlights the need for people to take more care on the roads," he said.

"Obviously we would like to see no fatalities on our roads, but anything that can highlight dangers and encourage people to drive at the appropriate speed and be aware of others on the road is a good start."

Mr Stibners, himself a victim of a road accident 13 years ago, said he was keen to support the initiative.

"Anything that promotes road safety awareness and makes people stop and think is a step in the right direction," he said.

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