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Stop Territory Aboriginal Road Sadness - NT Police indigenous road safety project.

Fuller, T

Aboriginal / Community


The Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services are committed to Stopping Territory Aboriginal Road Sadness. Every year we attend too many road crashes where Indigenous people are killed or seriously injured. An example of this carnage occurred on 31 December 2010 with the deaths of two boys aged 5 and 14 years, who were killed as passengers in a motor vehicle being driven on a remote road by a 13-year-old unlicensed driver. There were no adults in the car and the boys were not wearing seatbelts.

This tragic crash was unusual as the driver was not intoxicated; more than half of the Indigenous road deaths are alcohol-related and nearly all are preventable. In the past five years (2006-2010), 130 Indigenous people were killed on Territory roads out of a total 257 road deaths. On average over that period, 26 Indigenous people and 25 non-Indigenous people are killed each year. Putting it into perspective, just over 50% of people killed are Indigenous, yet they account for approximately 30% of the total population. Whilst those figures are tragic in themselves, for every Indigenous person killed, five more are seriously injured in vehicle crashes.

Every day Northern Territory Police apprehend traffic offenders, including drink drivers, in an effort to reduce the road toll, as shown in Figure 1. However, enforcement is only one tool. Education is another important tool to lower the number of road users killed, in particular Indigenous road users, so that they do not become the next Territory road statistic. Whilst not our core business, in late 2008 the Indigenous Policing Development Division (IPDD) of the Northern Territory Police was tasked by the then Commissioner of Police, Mr Paul White APM, with developing an education project to highlight and address this issue. Thus the STARS project commenced.