Industry News, Latest News, Safety, Traffic management, Traffic Management and Safety, Victoria

Tackling road trauma

Players, coaches, and the community donned blue arm bands during July’s TAC Road Safety Round.

The TAC Club Rewards Program is driving road safety awareness in Victoria through grassroots sporting club engagement.

As of 6 October, 195 Victorians have lost their lives to road trauma in 2022 – 15 per cent up on the 2021 year-to-date figure, and well above the five-year average of 175.

Digging deeper into this data reveals that 108 of those have been in regional areas – a 35 per cent increase from last year. Also of concern is the increase in young lives lost, with the 18-25 age group jumping from 26 this time last year to 35.

It’s figures such as these that make initiatives such as the TAC Club Rewards Program – now in its third year – all the more important.

Community impact

The Transport Accident Commission (TAC) has been a major partner to AFL Victoria for more than 30 years, making it one of the longest-running relationships in Australian sport.

Leveraging this partnership to engage football and netball clubs at a grassroots level is one way the TAC is bolstering road trauma and safety awareness throughout communities across the state. 

“The influence Victorian sporting clubs have within their communities is far reaching, and the impact they can have in promoting road safety is invaluable – especially when it comes to their younger players and members,” says Ben Carroll, Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety.

The 2022 TAC Club Rewards program launch in Shepparton.
The 2022 TAC Club Rewards program launch in Shepparton.

Hoping to build on this community influence, The TAC Club Rewards Program rewards AFL Victoria-affiliated clubs that demonstrate their commitment to stamping out road trauma through player, member, and community education.

This year, 151 Victorian football and netball clubs were recognised for their efforts throughout the 2022 season, sharing in a funding pool of more than half a million dollars.

Successful clubs will put this funding towards new equipment and uniforms, facility upgrades, as well as education programs for mental health and road safety.  

“The commitment shown by Victorian football and netball clubs to promote road safety will have a lasting impact on the community, and could be the reason their players and members get home safe at the end of the day,” Minister Carroll says. 


 

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Some of these clubs’ initiatives have included nominating road safety ambassadors within clubs, promoting road safety messaging through local and social media channels, TAC-themed grass signage on local grounds, and running road safety awareness nights. 

For TAC Head of Road Safety Samantha Cockfield, it’s important to see key road safety messages continue to be embedded into the community through grassroots participation. 

“We are proud of the long-standing partnership between the TAC and AFL Victoria, through which we have been able to reach hundreds of thousands of Victorians through their local communities,” she says.

“The most pleasing element of the partnership is seeing so many Victorian football and netball clubs prioritising road safety, and we hope to see this level of commitment continue to grow in coming years.”

Something blue

Participating clubs were encouraged to demonstrate their support for the cause across the year, but this messaging was further amplified during July’s TAC Road Safety Round.

Hundreds of players, coaches, and supporters from across the state donned blue armbands to “band together” and present a unified commitment to road safety, as well as to honour those who have lost their lives on Victorian roads.

The TAC has partnered with AFL Victoria for more than 30 years.
The TAC has partnered with AFL Victoria for more than 30 years.

The armbands feature a QR code linking to an online hub which presents the stories of ambassadors from across the state, and their experiences with road trauma.

During this round, the wider community was also invited to add their own stories to the conversation by posting on social media along with the ‘#tacbandtogether’ hash tag.

From awareness to action

The end game for campaigns such as these is a culture of road safety where death or serious injury are no longer regarded as inevitable. Building knowledge and awareness to encourage young Victorians to make better decisions is critical, but it doesn’t stop there.

According to the TAC, drug driving now exceeds drink driving as a major cause of deaths on Victorian roads. This has necessitated an increase in the number of roadside drug tests each year – something the Victorian Government continues to invest in.

Other priority investments include protective road infrastructure such as road-edge barriers, lane departure audible warning systems, and red-light cameras at intersections; as well as encouraging technological innovation such as vehicle automation and intelligent transport systems to warn road users about imminent dangers from roadworks or slippery road surfaces. 

These investments, along with education initiatives such as the TAC Club Rewards Program, form part of the Victorian Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030, which outlines a vision of halving deaths from road trauma by 2023, and eliminating them entirely by 2050. 

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