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From Roadside to Recovery

The Story of the Victorian State Trauma System

By Peter Bragge and Russell Gruen


In 1969 car crashes killed over 1000 Victorians, making Victoria’s roads some of the world’s most deadly. By 2016, the fatality rate had been cut by 85% and Victorians are now taking seriously the goal of eliminating death on the roads altogether.

This extraordinary achievement is the product of sustained and ground-breaking approaches to preventing injury, saving lives and optimising recovery. Beginning with the world’s first seatbelt legislation in 1970, Victorians repeatedly charted new territory in health and public policy. In 2001 the system to care for severely injured people received a major overhaul. The new Victorian State Trauma System halved the risk anyone injured would die, and became the envy of the world. 

From Roadside to Recovery is the story of the evolution, implementation and impact of the Victorian State Trauma System, and those who championed it. It is a story of vision, leadership, determination, and achievement, about which there is much to celebrate. As road trauma is now one of the world’s leading causes of death there is also much to learn from it. 

For those who care about making a difference, this story will guide and inspire – showing what is possible when a community is determined to address the tragedy and cost of road trauma.

About the Editors

Peter Bragge is an Associate Professor in healthcare behaviour change at BehaviourWorks Australia, Monash Sustainable Development Institute, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. He works closely with government and industry partners to define, understand and address high-priority challenges in healthcare and other areas using a range of strategies informed by behaviour change theory and research evidence.

Russell Gruen MBBS PhD FRACS, is Professor of Surgery, Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine; Executive Director, NTU Institute for Health Technologies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; and Adjunct Professor of Surgery & Public Health, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. He is a former Professor of Surgery & Public Health, Alfred Hospital and Monash University, and Director of the National Trauma Research Institute.

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