Emeritus Professor Mary Sheehan retired from the directorship of the Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Queensland (CARRS-Q) on 30 June 2008, but continues her research and postgraduate mentoring and activities at the Centre.
Professor Sheehan's specific area of research interest is the application of social psychological theory to educational and rehabilitation initiatives to enhance community road safety, particularly the safety of young people, and in reducing the incidence of drink driving. This has resulted in some of CARRS-Q’s most successful and innovative road safety programs such as:
the development of the Under the Limit (UTL) Drink Driving Rehabilitation Program
a trial of alcohol ignition interlocks with high-risk Queensland drink drivers (UTL 2)
the Rural and Remote Road Safety Research project in North Queensland
the Skills for Preventing Injury in Youth (SPIY) school-based first aid and peer protection program.
Professor Sheehan has received international recognition for her work in alcohol, drugs and traffic safety through ministerial and executive appointments such as the International Council on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety (ICADTS) and the United States Academy of Science Transportation Research Board (TRB).
She is a foundation member of the Australian College of Road Safety (ACRS), and was awarded a Fellowship in 2000 for her contribution and commitment to road safety.
Professor Sheehan was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) in 2003 for service to education and to public health through research work into the causes and prevention of road, work and social accidents in Australia, and through the development of community awareness programs raising the level of debate in the area.