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Australian Paramedic Has Designs on Road Safety

A Canberra paramedic has won praise for a revolutionary ambulance design which has been shown to halve the likelihood of collision and improve visibility on the roads.

ACT Ambulance Service intensive care paramedic John Killeen was a driving force behind the high- visibility livery which has been incorporated into the territory's ambulance fleet and is now being considered by other states.

It is based on a fluorescent yellow- green colour scheme, reflective films on the ambulance exterior and an advanced warning light system.

Since his days as a student paramedic in 1997, Mr Killeen has been researching ambulance visibility and its impact on road safety. "I realised there was a need to make our vehicles more visible on the roads and decrease accidents," he said. "I wrote a 20,000-word report and the research has been ongoing since, which the ACT Ambulance Service has taken notice of.

"The new fleet started to roll out in the ACT last year, Tasmania has picked it up and now a few other states are considering it." Mr Killeen was presented last week with a 2006 ACT Workcover award for the best individual contribution to workplace health and safety. He and three colleagues, Ashley Manton, Jim Coghlan and David Dutton, were instrumental in a redevelopment of the ACT ambulance fleet.

Mr Killeen said the yellow-green colour was a powerful visual trigger, particularly when an ambulance appeared unexpectedly.

"This green stimulates a look-now response and fluorescent colours are highly effective in all weather conditions," he said.

Overseas research showed that that colour scheme reduced collisions by more than 50 per cent and lessened the impact speed of crashes which were unavoidable.

Most ambulance crashes occur at intersections, in the afternoon, on dry roads and in clear weather.

Mr Killeen said the yellow-green colour, in combination with an advanced warning light system fitted to ambulances in the ACT, was an Australian-first

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