National week drives change in road users

Amber Community Barwon South West regional coordinator Luke Elliot with Leading Senior Constable Johan Wisewould. (Ivan Kemp) 405951_05

By Jena Carr

A Barwon South West charity has been recognised for contributing to road safety as National Road Safety Week (NRSW) occurs nationwide.

Amber Community received $3000 through the Dr John Birrell Rotary Award that was presented to Leading Senior Constable Johan Wisewould by the Bellarine North Rotary Club at the Leopold Sportsmans Club on Tuesday, April 7, during the 11th NRSW from May 5 to 12.

Barwon South West regional coordinator Luke Elliot said a big part of the week was about prevention methods and people needed to consider their behaviours behind the wheel.

“About 95 per cent of all car crashes, we don’t use the word accident because that implies that we have no control, are as a result of human behaviour,” he said.

“We bring driving offenders together with lived experience volunteers, and it’s a restorative justice type scenario where we look at choices, actions and consequences.

“Our objective is to bring the road toll to zero and we’d like to talk about people because behind every number there’s a person and behind every person there’s a family and a community.”

NRSW founder Peter Frazer lost his daughter Sarah on the New South Wales’ Hume Freeway on February 15, 2012, when a truck driver killed her.

Mr Frazer said people needed to pay attention on the roads by staying off their phones, not driving while intoxicated and ensuring sufficient sleep.

“She had broken down in an emergency lane and was crying saying, ‘Dad, I’ve broken down and cars and trucks are speeding past me just centimetres away. I’m afraid I could get killed here’,” he said.

“When I got out of my meeting at work at 12.30pm, that was the phone call I got, and I tried ringing her back. She was killed at 12.32pm, and I never got to speak to my beautiful daughter.

“If you need a reason to get out there and make change, me and all those thousands of Australians who’ve lost a loved one want to make certain that doesn’t happen to anyone else’s loved one.”

Help is available by calling Amber Community on 1300 367 797 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.