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John Birrell. (Pp 104: Aus$29.95 paperback.) Brolga Publishing Pty Ltd, 2004 (P O Box 959, Ringwood, Victoria 3134; email:). ISBN 1-920785-24-8.
This is a memoir that reflects one of the great stories in injury prevention—the 70% fall in road traffic deaths in Victoria. Dr Birrell was at the centre of developments in road traffic injury reduction in Victoria, from the early days in the late 1950s to the period when it had become clear that the modern epidemic of road injury could be contained and the large reductions had begun. It deals with the efforts to get seatbelts installed and used, the enormous struggle to overcome the conspiracy of silence and to get road death taken seriously and, above all, the battle to contain the effect of alcohol as a component in road trauma. Although firmly located in Australia, the book is noted here because it is one of very few to focus on the how of injury prevention, on how interest was fostered and on how interventions and polices were developed, checked, and changed until the death rates came down.
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