Australian town to change name to promote road safety
February 18, 2011
Audio Version 2,050KB Ogg Vorbis
This audio file was created from the text revision dated 2011-02-18 and may not reflect subsequent text edits to this report. Newsreader is Kevin Fields.
The residents of Speed, a small town in the south-east of Australia, have made the decision to modify the name of the town for one month in an attempt to improve road safety in the country. The name of the town will be adjusted to SpeedKills across next month.
The idea was created by the Transport Accident Commission (TAC). A campaign was launched on the social networking website Facebook, saying that if 10,000 'liked' the campaign page, the name of the town - which has a population of 45 - would be changed. 'Rename Speed' has now gone on to achieve over 33,000 likes.
Previously, the government had used various advertising campaigns in an attempt to get motorists to reduce speed. However, these campaigns were in large part unsuccessful. In 2010, Australia experienced a 25% increase in deaths on rural roads . TAC spokesperson Phil Reed has stated that, with this new name change campaign, "[w]e're trying to get people to stay within the speed limits, obey road safety rules" and cause motorists to "realise that when they don't, people die".
One inhabitant of Speed has also made the decision to change his name during March. Phil Down, who grows wheat and raises sheep, has decided to change his name to Phil Slow Down. Speaking to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Down explained: "It's virtually on the road to somewhere else, so we've taken our quirky name and run with it to bring the attention to the campaign of trying to get people to slow down on country roads and especially through small towns".
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