Road authorities must be clear about the message they are trying to send in their bid to drive the road toll Towards Zero.
The state’s road toll sits at an alarming 188 – the state’s top cop has predicted it could reach a 10 year high of 300.
This is alarming – but what are our major road agencies doing about it?
The message Towards Zero may be plastered onto every advertisement but is Graham, an artistic creation designed to show us what features a human would need to survive serious road trauma, really the answer?
The TAC and government have been so successful in creating cultural change through their previous campaigns.
In the 70s – when the road toll was 1000 and driving after a few drinks was no big deal, a ground-breaking TAC campaign brought the blood and gore of car accidents into the lounge room. The fact is alcohol related accidents have dropped significantly.
The proportion of motorists killed with a blood alcohol level of more than .05 has dropped dramatically over this time – from 49 per cent in 1977 to 15 per cent in 2014.
Consistent advertisements and the slogan ‘If you drink, drive, you’re a bloody idiot’ changed behaviour. Everyone knew the slogan and its effectiveness was undoubtable.
We only have to look to local statistics to see the shocking impact of this year’s trauma.
In the local government region comprising of the Ballarat, Hepburn and Moorabool region alone, the toll sits at 13 this year. Nearly triple the 2015 figure and the highest for the area in at least five years.
The TAC has delivered us Graham – but perhaps what we need is targeted campaigns focusing on the major contributing factors. Police call them the fatal five – drugs, alcohol, fatigue, speed and distraction.
Perhaps authorities should look to the safety campaigns across the ditch. A New Zealand campaign looks specifically at mobile phones – using catchy music it shows us that our loved ones will be impacted if pick up the mobile phone while driving.
Road safety campaigner John Maher knows what it is like to lose someone – it changed his life forever. He is adamant it is the stories of real people that will change behaviour.
We know the road toll cannot continue to rise. The question that needs to be answered is how that message can be delivered to the drivers.
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