The Council, which is a non-competitive specialist section of the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA), conducted the survey to gather accurate information about the Australian public's experiences with the use of bull bars and nudge bars.
When launching the survey, the Council committed to donate $1 for every completed survey up to a maximum of $22,000. AAAA Executive Director Stuart Charity said the Royal Flying Doctor Service was the ideal beneficiary for the donation because it provides valuable primary health care and 24-hour emergency services to those living, working and travelling throughout Australia.
"The Royal Flying Doctor Service saves lives and improves the health of people in regional and remote areas. These same people are the main users of bull bars and nudge bars to protect their vehicles from frontal impacts, particularly animal strikes," he said.
"We are delighted to deliver this donation to the Royal Flying Doctor Service at the maximum amount. The 4WD Industry Council makes this contribution in recognition of all those people who took time to participate in this pioneering survey," he said.
Royal Flying Doctor Service National Chief Executive Officer Greg Rochford said: "I am delighted to receive the cheque on behalf of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Thank you to everyone who donated and to the AAAA for choosing us to be the recipient. Community support helps keep the Flying Doctor flying."
The businesses that contributed to the Council's donation were ARB, East Coast Bull Bars, Ironman 4X4, TJM and Tuff Bullbars Australia.
The survey was run on the Council website from January to March 2011 and results were based on the 33,620 questionnaires that were completed in full. "We believe this is the largest survey of bull bar users ever conducted. It has provided valuable facts and figures where previously we had only perceptions and estimates," said Stuart Charity.
The survey revealed that 97% of respondents believe that their safety on the road would be compromised if they were unable to fit a bull bar to their vehicle. The survey highlighted how common animal strikes are in rural, regional and remote areas, with 73% of respondents - 22,088 people - experiencing an animal strike in a bull bar equipped vehicle in the past five years. The high frequency of animal strikes reported was also surprising with 9% - 2,723 people - reporting between 11 and 100+ animal strikes a year.
The massive survey response was fed by strong public opposition to a Federal Government proposal to harmonise with European developed standards for vehicle frontal protection systems. This proposal was withdrawn in February 2011.