On Wednesday 15 August community members braved the wet and cold conditions to attend the Teenage Road Information Program (TRIP) at Heritage Funeral Home in Woori Yallock. In its second year, this program has now reached over 550 people. Those attending were met at the front door by a crashed vehicle which had the entire passenger side driven in to the centre console. An 18 year old male P plate driver was lucky to survive the crash.
Although TRIP is primarily aimed at changing teenage driving behaviour, most adults walk away reassessing their driving behaviour. The program gives and in-depth insight into what happens to road crash victims and the aftermath from injuries and fatalities. It is designed to be a hard hitting presentation by the very people who attend the crash scene and know first-hand the devastation caused.
Victoria Police Inspector Paul Rosenblum who opened the event delivered the cold hard statistics – 9 fatal road crashes, 147 serious injury collisions in the Yarra Ranges in the past 12 months alone. Males aged 18-25 are overrepresented and alcohol and speed have been the major causes.
Daniel van der Hoek spoke of his accident which occurred just 25 days after getting his licence. He made the decision to drive after he had been drinking, travelled over a crest in the road at 100 kph and hit a 14 tonne truck. The injuries he sustained were life threatening and he spoke about intensive care, rehabilitation, multiple surgeries, the effects on family, friends and his girlfriend and the shock of being interviewed by police.
Pastor Andy Bennett who is also a CFA volunteer, spoke about the effects on grieving families. Pastor Andy spoke about one particular local incident where a moment of distraction, not alcohol, drugs, speed or mobile phone - lead to a collision which took the life of a young mother. The driver of the other vehicle is living a life tormented where he is very slowly learning to put his life back together.
This year young teenage emergency service members were involved in the development of the program and facilitated much of the evening. Younger CFA and SES spoke to their peers directly through a case study based on local behaviour, and talked about how poor decisions could have fatal consequences.
Last to present was local father Rob Marston who spoke about the death of his daughter Aubrey 12 months ago. The cause of Aubrey’s accident is still unknown, but the effects on her family and the local community will stick in everyone’s mind. Rob talked about how his youngest daughter Louisa is almost ready to drive and the challenges and fears that brings for him. Rob’s challenge to everyone in the room was “Ask yourself, what is one thing I will do to improve my behaviour on the road? Think about it and then act on it”.
As part of their commitment to changing driving behaviour, emergency services and local Bendigo Bank branches sponsored 11 defensive driving courses which were given away as door prizes to the community.
The TAC 20th Anniversary Retrospective Montage was played at the conclusion of the night which was thought provoking and challenging.
We ask that each of you ask yourself – “what is the one thing you will do to improve your behaviour on the road?” as ONE….is one death too many.