The Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC), the largest injury prevention centre in the Southern Hemisphere, is set to celebrate its 20th anniversary with a gala dinner on 14 November 2007.
The dinner will feature one of the world's foremost experts in injury prevention and road safety, director general of the FIA Foundation for the Automobile and Society, David Ward.
"MUARC will celebrate its 20th anniversary secure in the knowledge that it has played a vital role in some of Australia's most important safety initiatives through a commitment to innovative, outstanding research in the field of injury prevention," MUARC director Prof Rod McClure said.
MUARC was founded in 1987 in a bid to curb Victoria's alarming road toll. Research initially targeted initiatives aimed at reducing drink driving and excessive speeding. Other early projects also included road-accident data analysis, changing young driver behaviour, occupant protection, traffic engineering and footpath cycling.
MUARC has consistently led the way in road crash investigation with its long running Australian National Crash In-Depth Study (ANCIS); helped change vehicle design rules for frontal crashes, side impact protection and offset frontal impacts; and developed the widely respected Used Car Safety Rating System. It has also suggested design changes to reduce heavy vehicle injuries, contributed to the sealing of road shoulders on rural roads and influenced many police enforcement and operational strategies.
MUARC's research methods have also made key contributions in falls prevention in the elderly, forklift safety, farm safety, as well as injuries from water sports and boating.
MUARC's Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit has been at the forefront of child injury prevention initiatives and played a major part in identifying hazards in the home as well as product safety, including childhood poisoning.
As MUARC gets set to enter its third decade, it is expanding its influence internationally with around 30 major projects already underway in the US, Europe and China.
"Injury is the slow-burn pandemic of the modern age because it affects all ages and gender groups in all countries of the world," McClure said.
"The next decade will see MUARC developing the science of injury prevention to support an international solution to this global problem of major public health importance."