The NSW Police Force's top brass, Hyundai and driver training experts joined a car crash survivor today in a plea to road users to take responsibility for their actions behind the wheel.
The call to action comes as the NSW road toll climbs 27 per cent higher than the previous year with 155 people dying on the state's roads in 2016 so far.
The safety message also marked the 10th anniversary of 30 year old Jarred Ingram's serious accident which left him in a coma. Ingram's ute collided with a pole at high speed in 2006. Suffering severe head injury he was rushed to Westmead hospital and remained unresponsive for months with doctors fearing he would be in a vegetative state for the rest of his life.
Ingram defied expectations and following years of rehabilitation and determination to return to a normal life he walked on stage today at Hyundai's Australian headquarters and delivered an emotional message.
"Lying in hospital I was in a lot of pain. I had no control of my body. I couldn't feed myself, and walking and talking was no longer possible. I can't tell you how frustrating that was – it was simply overwhelming.
"My crash had changed everyone's lives – not just my own. It's not just our actions which hurt us but those who love us too.
"Rehabilitation is lifelong for a person with a brain injury and it continues to this day."
Ingram is now the ambassador for driver education organisation Drive To Survive.
It's time drivers took responsibility for their own behaviour
"I was driving too fast on that wet night. And I never thought this would happen to me. Had I completed a driving course like Drive To Survive then perhaps things may have ended very differently. But that wasn't my destiny – you have choices, don't make the same ones I did.
Drive to Survive principal Ian Luff said drivers can't blame anything other than themselves for car crashes – with alcohol and drugs, fatigue, distractions and not knowing the driving basics being the main causes.
"It's time drivers took responsibility for their own behaviour," he said.
"Despite the improvements in motor vehicle standards and safety 95 per cent of crashes are attributed to human error – that is a government statistic.
Also speaking at the event NSW Assistant police Commission John Hartley agreed that safety was down to drivers.
"It's about personal responsibility. Any activity you take on the road should be well thought out so that you get there safely."
Drive to Survive's vehicle supplier Hyundai Australia hosted the event, with Regional Manager Hugo Acosta joining the call for better driver education.
"Our cars are as safe as we can make them… but when it comes down to it there only as safe as the people who drive them."
The RACV says there are 25 deaths on the nation's roads each week, along with 30,000 people admitted to hospital around the country, estimated to cost the economy $27 billion dollars every year.