NeuRA’s work into road safety highlighted during UN Global Road Safety week

Parents, governments and businesses are being urged to do more to #SaveKidsLives during UN Global Road Safety week.

Over 186,000 children under 18 die from road traffic crashes each year, and rates of road traffic deaths are three times higher in developing countries than in developed countries.

This week, during UN Global Road Safety Week, #SaveKidsLives and NeuRA seek to highlight the plight of children on the world’s roads and generate action to better ensure their safety.

NeuRA’s Dr Julie Brown is a Senior Research Fellow and Chair of KidsSafe NSW. Her interest is in injury prevention on our roads.

“Injury is a big and broad problem. By 2020, road traffic injuries are predicted to become the third leading contributor to the global burden of disease after heart disease and major depression.”

The World Health Organization estimates that 5 million people are killed annually around the world from injury and many more require medical treatment. The costs to the community and to individuals who live with varying degrees of disability following injury are huge.

Dr Brown is currently investigating injuries to child passengers, injuries to older (>75 years) drivers and passengers, injuries to children using powered two wheel vehicles, and injuries to on-road motorcyclists.

“For child passengers, I am looking for ways to make the correct use of child car seats easier. We know this will save lives and prevent injury but only about one in two children currently have no errors in the way they use restraints, and this means there are a lot of children currently at risk of injury.”


Seat belts save countless lives and injuries but, for older car drivers and passengers, the seat belt is a common source of injury.

“For these people, the seat belt works to prevent death and major head injury, but they are often left with rib fractures. For younger people, this is a relatively minor injury but for older people the consequences can be severe. I’m currently looking at the way older people use seat belts and if there is any way we can improve this problem with existing technology,” says Dr Brown.

There are also growing numbers of children injured on two wheel vehicles like minibikes and trail bikes here in Australia and in other countries.

NeuRA is trying to understand how we can make these sorts of activities on powered two wheel vehicles safer for children.


Dr Brown is leading a program investigating the quality of motorcycle protective clothing.

“We are investigating how new technologies might help to make motorcyclists safer on our roads, the impact of fatigue on riders, and the performance of protective equipment like motorcycle protective clothing currently being used by motorcyclists.”

Parents, governments and businesses are being urged to do more to #SaveKidsLives during UN Global Road Safety week.