Springwood father Peter Frazer was named Blue Mountains Citizen of the Year on Saturday for his successful campaign to improve road safety around the country.
Mr Frazer’s life was turned upside last year when his daughter Sarah was killed after her car broke down on the Hume Highway near Mittagong on February 15. The 23-year-old, and the tow truck driver who came to her aid, Geoff Clark, both died when a passing truck sideswiped them on the narrow road shoulder.
Determined to “make something good come from her death”, Mr Frazer and his family formed the group SARAH (Safer Australian Roads and Highways) to lobby governments to improve road safety.
He presented a petition with 23,000 signatures to State Parliament last May and in September NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay announced a package of measures to improve safety, particularly along breakdown lanes, on major highways across NSW.
The ripples of change are still happening with Mr Frazer telling the Australia Day audience he was informed just the day before that NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell had requested a brochure on breakdown road safety be included in all registration papers.
Mr Frazer shared the remarkable journey his family has been on after receiving the award from Blue Mountains Australia Day Ambassador Andy Paschalidis at Springwood Civic Centre.
“The first couple of weeks we couldn’t even watch TV, listen to the radio or read a newspaper. Sarah’s accident was absolutely everywhere,” he said.
“There was a high degree of outrage in the community when people realised that here was this young 23-year-old woman travelling to Wagga Wagga to start university, and her life was cut tragically short. Why? Not because of anything she’d done but because of the fact our roads didn’t meet standards.”
But Mr Frazer said his family’s road safety campaign was met “with an incredible wave of support from all levels of government”.
“We now have a historic breakdown strategy, a 13 page document that was put out by the NSW Government,” he said.
He praised the Blue Mountains Mayor Daniel Myles, Deputy Mayor Mark Greenhill, councillors as well as the State Member for Blue Mountains Roza Sage and Federal Member for Macquarie Louise Markus.
But he saved his biggest praise for everyone who has supported the SARAH campaign.
“This honour is about saying thank you to all the people in this beautiful community; to Sarah’s friends who have been a major support; and to local businesses who supported the petition.
“But lastly I’m taking this (award) on behalf of Sarah, not on behalf of myself. Her life has been an inspiration to us all,” he said.