CASR's founder appointed Officer in the Order of Australia (AO)

Jack on the Parade - photo by Ben Clark Photography / Newspix

Jack McLean on the Parade in Norwood - photo by Ben Clark Photography / Newspix

During his time as Director of CASR, and the Road Accident Research Unit prior to that, Jack co-ordinated and conducted research into a wide variety of areas related to traffic safety, and in the process contributed directly to significant reductions in the road toll not only in Australia but throughout the world.

Amongst other academic qualifications Jack achieved both a Master of Science in Hygiene in the field of Environmental Health (1968) as well as a Doctor of Science in the fields of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (1972) at Harvard University.​​​​

RARU crash investigation vehicle used in the 1970s

RARU Crash investigation vehicle
used in the 1970s

Upon achieving his doctorate, Dr McLean returned to Adelaide where he founded the Road Accident Research Unit in 1973.  In the remainder of the decade, he established the Unit as a centre for excellence and innovation in the field of in-depth at-scene road accident investigation.  Not only did he help set the benchmark for in-depth investigation of road crashes, as recognised by the World Health Organisation, but also harnessed the knowledge he derived from these early crash studies to direct subsequent research towards the factors most significant in contributing to the spiralling road toll. 


This resulted in Professor McLean being consistently at the forefront of research addressing both the causes and consequences of road accidents.  In particular, he has been a world leader in the coordination of studies into alcohol impairment, vehicle speed, road infrastructure, head injury and the protection of pedestrians through improved vehicle design.

In addition to his influential research, Professor McLean has also contributed to road safety policy in Australia and overseas through his membership and participation in various boards and committees, and worldwide road safety bodies. Included in a long list of professional societies to which he has belonged is ICADTS, the International Council on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety. A member since 1986, he served as President from 1995 to 1997, and in 1995 helped host the ICADTS international conference in Adelaide. He was also one of eight select members of the Global Traffic Safety Trust, formed officially in 1989 to aid in the transfer of road safety knowledge to developing countries. The prior work of this group of researchers was recognised with the Volvo International Traffic Safety Award in 1988.

Crash investigation - photographing damaged vehicle

Crash investigation -
photographing damaged vehicle

Professor McLean’s legacy, however, will not be confined to his own research and other associated work but will also encompass the work done by the legion of researchers who have benefited from his expertise, guidance and mentoring. Having started the Road Accident Research Unit in 1973, Jack has had the opportunity to guide and instruct his research staff over a period of 35 years.

His legacy continues with the Centre for Automotive Safety Research, which continues his tradition of quality ground breaking research.

Jack could be called the "Father of Road Safety" in Australia!Max Cameron, Professor (research) at MUARC
A quiet hero. Thank you Jack. Elizabeth Ho OAM - Company Director and Honorary Board member
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