A new motorsports safety organization has launched with the initial intent of focusing on track safety. Racing Safety United (RSU) is a new alliance of motorsports industry reps with the common mission of making the sport safer for all participants.
While different stakeholders aspire to a variety of roles within the safety platform, the included drivers, sanctioning body representatives, team owners, track owners, circuit designers and safety personnel might have different objectives to bring to the table.
Currently comprised of 27 members, this safety advocacy group began with the impetus of driver RJ Valentine, who has made more than 400 professional race starts, as well as earned multiple podiums and top-10 results over his career.
Valentine, like so many of us, has seen devastating crashes over the years and admits the final straw, for him, was losing driver Jim Fitzgerald to basilar skull fracture. The racer, track owner and founder of Impact Safety Systems felt the need to involve others to hasten improvement of safety procedures in the sport.
The group has a single mission: to make racing as safe as possible, protecting lives and vehicles by reducing damage, injuries, concussions and casualties for drivers at all levels. In so doing, they hope to pave the way to a safer sport for future generations.
The group’s initial push with track safety is to raise awareness of the need for improvements at race courses and speedways around the country, focusing on antiquated walls as the root cause of many injuries or fatalities. INDYCAR racer Robert Wickens’ tumultuous accident at Pocono this past August could have had larger implications for others in the series; thankfully it did not.
With a lack of funding being a sticking point for programs of this nature, RSU has begun working on financial aid options for underfunded circuits in need of safety upgrades. In concert with this push, RSU is also identifying ways of minimizing racing-related Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs).
RSU intends to accomplish many of its objectives by using research surveys, educational outreaches, seminars, track safety analyses, creating guides and identifying comparative or buffering strategies. The group’s entities will consult on safety product developments and other programs, evolving as their number continues to expand.
With its 27 participants active throughout all motorsports arenas, the RSU alliance realizes the industry has an adversity to change and always has. Racing will continue to be inherently dangerous despite safety advancements, they understand.
Every participant, however, has an obligation to do what they can to eliminate unnecessary risk and preventable harm. As an informal group, RSU represents an outlet for safety activists and invites all with interest to join. “The greater the number of voices, the better the industry will hear, and the more drivers will survive,” RSU’s introductory announcement stated.
Further information about RSU and its objectives can be gained through Valentine’s company’s website, which has a page dedicated to the group.