THE Transport Accident Commission recently announced a renewed partnership with regional media outlets as part of the state’s efforts to stem deaths and casualties on country roads.
TAC CEO Joe Calafiore said regional media outlets had a major role to play in Victoria’s march towards zero road deaths and serious injuries.
He said there was a pressing need to address country road trauma, with regional Victorians four times more likely to be killed and 40 per cent more likely to be seriously injured than people in Melbourne.
“Regional communities understand all too well the devastating impacts of road trauma so it is essential that we do everything we can to keep road safety in the minds of country Victorians,” Mr Calafiore said.
The TAC’s Talk the Toll Down partnership with 65 regional newspapers was launched four years ago in Ballarat.
Mr Calafiore told media figures from throughout regional Victoria that the successful partnership would continue indefinitely under a new name, Towards Zero.
“Regional newspapers connect deeply with their local communities and the continuation of this partnership recognises the influential role they can play in promoting safer road use within those communities,” Mr Calafiore said.
The announcement follows the launch of the TAC’s popular Towards Zero campaign, encouraging Victorians to consider how losing a loved one would affect their family and to aim for a future where no one is killed or seriously injured on our roads.
“Towards Zero sets an ambitious target but unless we’re aiming towards zero, we’re saying to ourselves that we accept people will die or be badly hurt just because they use our roads. We can never accept that,” Mr Calafiore said.
“We are now appealing to regional media to continue showing leadership in road trauma prevention by promoting the goals of Towards Zero and leading the conversation around road safety.”
Mr Calafiore said, while mistakes would always be made on the roads, the goals of Towards Zero could be achieved with the creation of a safer overall road system.
“We’re working with our road safety partners and the Victorian Government to create a safer, more forgiving road system that will cushion people from death or serious injury when a mistake is made.”
With 44 per cent of fatalities occurring on high speed rural roads, creating safer roads infrastructure has the potential to make the biggest difference to country road trauma.
The TAC and VicRoads are delivering a $1 billion Safe System Roads Infrastructure Program to turn some of the state’s highest-risk roads into some of the safest.