14 March 2019
Road trauma and safety experts
fear the fatal consequences of Heineken's high profile Formula 1
sponsorship, ahead of the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne this
weekend, and have accused Heineken of recklessly encouraging drink
The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons says Heineken's
celebration and promotion of alcohol and speed at one of
Australia's highest profile sporting events is simply unacceptable
when alcohol is already involved in 30 per cent of fatal crashes
More than 1000 people died in vehicle crashes on Australian
roads in 2017 and 36,000 others suffered injuries that required
treatment in hospital.
As his title suggests, trauma surgeon John Crozier's job is to
attempt to save lives and repair the physical damage to people
involved in alcohol-fuelled road crashes. As Co-Chair of the
Australian National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020, Dr Crozier says
Heineken's involvement as a motorsport sponsor is as reckless as it
"It is beyond stupid for Heineken and Formula 1 to use an
alcohol brand as a celebration of speed. Driving, drinking and
speed too often result in people dying and suffering permanent
disability and injuries," Dr Crozier said.
"Heineken, Formula One and the Melbourne Grand Prix organisers
should be condemned for their part in brokering, endorsing and
permitting such a dangerous sponsorship," he said.
Dr Crozier says a national inquiry in 2018 found that
Australia's road safety performance had stalled and that Australia
must do more to reduce the enormous, unacceptable road toll.
"We are already losing ground on road safety. Lives are at
stake. Knowing this, we cannot allow a corporate giant such as
Heineken to put more lives as risk, simply in order to shift more
cases of beer," said Dr Crozier.
Dr Crozier says alcohol advertising has no place in any sport,
and endorses the campaign End Alcohol Advertising in Sport, but
when it comes to motorsport and alcohol, he knows first-hand that
the association can be immediate and deadly.
"Alcohol advertising in any sport is a serious problem. Put
simply, the evidence is crystal clear that the more children are
exposed to alcohol advertising, the greater the risk that they will
start drinking at an earlier age and drink in greater quantities,
leading to a range of alcohol harms," Dr Crozier said.
"Alcohol advertising in motor sport is even more dangerous,
because as well as targeting children and creating a completely
false association between Heineken and sporting success, it links
speed, driving and alcohol consumption, which, too often, has
deadly consequences," said Dr Crozier.
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