Thomas James TRIGGS (1938 - 2012)

Personal Chair in Psychology (1988 - 2005)

Thomas Triggs

Former Deputy Director of the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC), Emeritus Professor Thomas Triggs, has passed away.

Staff at the Monash Injury Research Institute (MIRI) were notified on Monday morning and tributes have flowed for the researcher, teacher and leader who throughout his career influenced the lives of many. 

His contribution to the establishment of MUARC and the development of the Centre’s young driver, driver training, and driving simulator research programs have led to the introduction of safety initiatives that have dramatically reduced Australia’s road toll.

Professor Triggs joined Monash in 1973 in the School of Psychology. Throughout his career, his research has focused on the application of psychology and human factors methods to improve safety. After seeing a driving simulator in the US in 1989, Professor Triggs introduced the concept into Australia as a safe way of testing driving conditions and other factors in a low-risk context.

In 1995, soon after his retirement Professor Triggs received the title of Emeritus Professor and since then continued an active role in the Centre’s activities.

Provost and Senior Vice-President, Professor Edwina Cornish said Professor Triggs had made a remarkable contribution to Monash throughout his career, which spanned almost four decades.

“Professor Triggs was instrumental in creating one of the most successful research centres not only at Monash but in Australia and its influence throughout the world is well documented,” Professor Cornish said.

“His legacy to the road safety research community is extensive and his research had tangible outcomes for the safety of drivers throughout Australia.”

MIRI Director Professor Rod McClure paid tribute to a colleague whose work was respected internationally and whose commitment to Monash and MUARC will long stay with the Centre.

“Tom was a trusted mentor for many staff and PhD students at MUARC, and his contribution to the academic environment of the Centre has been one of the Centre's core strengths,” Professor McClure said.

“I have had the pleasure of knowing Tom in person for five years, and many years before that by virtue of his substantial academic contributions to knowledge. I, like so many others, have always held Tom in the very highest regard. Tom has made a truly outstanding contribution to MUARC, Monash, and the discipline of Human Factors. He will be deeply missed,” Professor McClure said.

Professor Triggs is survived by his wife Tele and his children, Sumi and Maya.

A funeral will be held on Friday, 14 September at 11am at The Swedish Church, 21 St Georges Road, Toorak.

Edited version published in Monash Memo, 12 September 2012.