More than 50,000 people are expected to sign pledges committing themselves to wear a seat belt in their car at all times as part of a unique partnership between Westar Rules football and the Road Safety Council.
Plans for the $400,000 partnership were outlined to nearly 2,000 people at a special gala night at the Perth Concert Hall.
The guests, most of them Westar Rules footballers and their partners, were given details of the community education program in which each player will sign the seat belt pledge and recruit 50 others to do the same.
Transport Minister Eric Charlton said the innovative awareness campaign involving footballers was expected to have enormous impact.
"Drivers and passengers who do not wear their seat belt are dicing with death or serious injury if they are involved in a serious accident and it is vital that we get the message across at every opportunity," Mr Charlton said.
"Although our overall road safety record improved last year there was a big increase in the percentage of people killed who were not wearing their seat belt.
"In country areas over half those killed in road crashes were not wearing a seat belt and that figure was only slightly lower in the metropolitan area, where 42 per cent had failed to buckle up.
"There are also high numbers of young people aged 17-24 dying or being seriously injured on Western Australian roads.
"Young men are about 50 per cent more likely to be killed or seriously injured than young women, so it makes good sense to link road safety with a sport played by young men. It is equally important to involve their spouses and partners in promoting the wearing of seat belts.
"I am certain this initiative will save lives and prevent serious injuries."
Westar Rules Chairman, Barry McKinnon, said every player was committed to honouring their pledge and would also be participating in a range of other road safety promotions.
"In addition to obtaining road safety pledges from their family and friends, Westar players will be carrying the seat belt message to schools and community groups," Mr McKinnon said.
"Westar is also committed to extensive ground and player signage to further promote the ‘Belt Up' road safety message.
"The local game has an enormous following with total attendances last year of over 233,000 and a regular viewing audience on television of approximately 200,000 per game.
"There is therefore great potential for spreading the road safety message and making a real impact on the level of deaths and serious injuries on WA roads."
The launch of the Westar/Road Safety Council partnership featured appearances by many past ‘legends' of Australian Rules.
Presenters during the evening included Dave Warner, Ian Brayshaw, Basil Zempilas, Glenn Mitchell, Roy Slaven and H G Nelson, with entertainment from Alexandra Hill, Dance Force and Todd Johnson with Peace, Love & All That Stuff.
Media inquiries: Doug Cunningham (08) 9321 7333
Barry McKinnon (08) 9321 3120