Following on from her recent comments and criticisms of motorsport following the loss of Marco comes the latest, including responses to ann neal and mark webber, www.heraldsun.com.au/opinion/cultur...189327752?sv=103bc78d02688f9f9ea20099c6f312c1 "WHAT can be done to reduce our state's road toll? Advertising campaigns such as the gruesome TAC television ads have certainly helped reduce the overall road toll. However, we still face a seemingly intractable problem - young male drivers are not getting the message. Of those killed on Australian roads, 18-to-25-year-old males are vastly over-represented. A review by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau highlighted a number of reasons including the taking of alcohol and drugs as well as the underestimation of risk and deliberate risk-taking. The denial of risk has long been noted for its connection to aggressive, competitive driving. In the 1970s, researchers found that drivers generally don't perceive any risk of their being in a crash. Other researchers later came up with the concept of risk-homeostasis, which essentially means that road users always operate at the highest level of risk they're prepared to accept. The end result is, when you put a bloke together with a car, you often have to wonder which one is the tool. So what can be done? A good start would be to stop glamourising motor sports. Young blokes at the wheel or on a motorcycle hardly need egging on, but that's just what the motor sports industry does. If you doubt this connection then just check out the traffic leaving Phillip Island or other racing venues. This week Ann Neal took me to task for criticising what I consider the dangerous blood-lust of motor sports. She claims that "not one" motor sport fan gets off on the inherent dangers of racing. I simply don't believe her. I've seen the reaction to crashes and it's not all "tut-tut, what a shame". Then again, Ann Neal denies that motor sports are even risky - ah yes, that old problem of denial, which is a noted characteristic of road users, from the officially competitive to the suburban hoon. I note that as the manager and partner of Formula One driver Mark Webber, Neal derives great benefit from racing. According to her, racing is incredibly safe: "I have more confidence in Mark being out on the track in his F1 car than out on the public roads on his push-bike." Webber also happily downplays the dangers. On his website he talks about his main worry going to India for the first time to compete in the recent inaugural Indian Grand Prix - he'd heard there are lots of stomach bugs there. That's a man of the world for you, more scared of a curry than a crash. Now, protecting young people from themselves is a vital task for society as a whole, not just for parents of young drivers. With regard to road safety, this was recognised as far back as 1989 when the Federal Office of Road Safety reported on driver aggression, risk and motivation. It found: "There can be little doubt that there is a substantial learned component (to aggressive behaviour). Risk taking and competitiveness can be considered, in part, to be encouraged by society." Now, if Ann Neal and Mark Webber really want to be socially responsible, here's a suggestion - chuck the sponsorship deal with Red Bull. We all know the energy drink is strongly associated with youth culture and boozing. Having the brand slapped on speeding drivers and cars sends an appalling message to young drivers at risk."