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Introducing Graham: the only person designed to survive on our roads

The Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) is proud to have played a role in the latest Victorian initiative to reduce road deaths and injuries.

The Transport Accident Commission (TAC) today launched its latest road safety project, highlighting how susceptible the human body is to the forces involved in transport accidents. In a shift from its traditional road safety campaigns, the TAC has collaborated with a leading trauma surgeon, MUARC’s  Dr David Logan and a world-renowned Melbourne artist to produce ‘Graham’, an interactive lifelike sculpture demonstrating human vulnerability.

Graham has been designed with bodily features that might be present in humans if they had evolved to withstand the forces involved in crashes. Studies have shown that the human body can only cope with impacts at speeds people can reach on their own, unassisted by vehicles.

Dr Logan has described Graham as “a striking example of science meeting art” and is hopeful that the interactive sculpture will generate discussion on road safety.

“To make a real difference, we need to work towards a safer road system that understands the limitations of all road users and provides them with safe vehicles travelling on safe roads at safe speeds so that when things inevitably go wrong, no one is killed or hospitalised as a result," Dr Logan  said.

TAC CEO Mr Joe Calafiore said the science of human vulnerability underpinned Victoria’s new Towards Zero approach to road trauma reduction.

“We have to accept people will always make mistakes, but modern vehicle safety technology and safe road design can drastically reduce the forces involved when a crash happens, making them more survivable,” Mr Calafiore said.

Royal Melbourne Hospital trauma surgeon Christian Kenfield and MUARC’s Dr Logan briefed Melbourne sculptor Patricia Piccinini to develop Graham.

The installation will be on show at the State Library of Victoria until 8 August, before going on a roadshow. Victorians can also interact with Graham online at www.meetgraham.com.au. In an Australian first, Victorians will be able to use Google Tango, the latest in immersive augmented reality technology,  to look beneath Graham’s skin and better understand how his unique features would work to cushion him from serious injury in a crash. School curriculum has also been developed to enhance the learning experience for students visiting Graham in person or online.

“Graham is an educational tool that will serve the community for years to come as a reminder of why we need to develop a safer road system that will protect us when things go wrong,” Mr Calafiore said.