06/05/18

Shining Our Light – Working and Walking for Road Safety

Civilex Improves Road Safety
Civilex continues its civil construction work on improving road infrastructure on one of Victoria’s most dangerous rural roads – an 11km stretch of the Melbourne-Lancefield Road just outside of Romsey. According to VicRoads’ research people driving on country roads are four times more likely to be killed than those in metropolitan areas, with nearly half of all road deaths in Victoria occurring on 100 and 110km/h roads. Almost a quarter of serious injuries occur on high-speed rural roads, mainly due to drivers driving off the road or hitting other vehicles head-on.

Transport Accident Commission Lead Director of Road Safety Samantha Cockfield says, “We all have a role to play to reach our goal of zero deaths or serious injuries on our roads and while we are making progress with Towards Zero there is still a long way to go.” Civilex is proud to be working in partnership on Towards Zero initiative in making the Melbourne-Lancefield Road safer while also taking time to join the RTSSV organisation and community who are committed to walking 5km and to shine a light on road safety.

Although the construction works are about 70km north of the community walk at Albert Park Lake, Civilex was proud to sponsor The Road Trauma Support Services Victoria (RTSSV) 2018 campaign Shine A Light on Road Safety. The fifth annual Shine a Light on Road Safety campaign achieved extraordinary visibility and reached over a million Victorians.

RTSSV Community Walk
On Sunday 6 May hundreds of people walked together around Albert Park to honour those impacted by road trauma and advocate for road safety. Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Doug Fryer led the walk. He was joined by Minister Luke Donnellan and members of Victoria Police, the Transport Accident Commission, VicRoads, SES, MFB, Ambulance Victoria and CFA and hundreds of Victorians whose lives have been changed by road trauma.

“It was wonderful to see so many people connecting and supporting each other through this terrific community-led campaign,” said CEO of RTSSV Cameron Sinclair.

The Shine a Light on Road Safety campaign was part of National Road Safety Week 30 April – 6 May 2018 and during the week landmarks across Australia were illuminated in yellow for road safety.

On Friday 4 May Victorian motorists turned on their headlights a simple, free and highly visible gesture to remember those impacted by road trauma and show commitment to road safety. The campaign reached well over a million Victorians thanks to the support of the Victorian Government, TAC, Victoria Police, VicRoads, community groups and corporate Australia.

The Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan said, “Road trauma has a devastating effect on thousands of Victorians every year and nobody deserves to lose their life on our roads.” RTSSV was founded in 1994 by a small group of people whose lives had been directly impacted by road trauma. RTSSV was first set up to provide specialist services and support to people suffering due to injury or loss of a loved one on Victoria’s roads. Today, the not-for-profit RTSSV organisation has grown to offer state-wide counselling, support and education services to any Victorian affected by road trauma.

This year Civilex Victoria not only sponsored RTSSV’s annual campaign – “Turn your headlights on Friday 4 May” and a community walk on Sunday 6 May – but Civilex staff participated in it.

Walk Participant’s Experience
Civilex employees and their family and friends participated in the walk on Sunday. Here’s why the Civilex employees joined in:

Sam, a Leading Hand at Civilex, participated in the community walk with his wife Helen. “We did the walk as victims of road trauma and as survivors of a near-fatal collision back in 2006. I personally know the effects of PTSD as I was the driver the day of our accident. To walk away from that accident with minor injuries – along with my family – was a relief. Today it was great to come out and support others impacted by road trauma and be part of Team Civilex sponsoring the campaign. We enjoyed the day as well as the company of those supporting the event.”

Civilex Marketing and Communications Manager Lisa attended the walk at Albert Park Lake with her family. “I attended the Shine A Light on Road Safety community walk with my husband and teenage daughters because I currently have two Learner drivers just beginning their journey of being behind the wheel, and already they have experienced incidents on the road that have made them feel uncomfortable and nervous. I want them to know that it’s okay to drive slower than what a speed limit sign says and not take unnecessary risks on the roads for their own safety as well as the safety of other drivers.”

Michael works at Civilex in the role as OH&S Coordinator and joined the walk with his family. “Whether it’s a family member, a friend or a work colleague, most of us have felt the unfortunate impact of road trauma. My four family members and I took part in the RTSSV Shine A Light on Road Safety community walk because anything that helps positively influence driver attitudes and behaviours will reduce the number of people affected by road tragedies.”

David is a Surveyor at Civilex who participated in the walk with his wife and two children. “Earlier this year my primary schoolmate from home in Fiji lost his life while driving in the early hours. Police said Mr Singh was a victim of fatigue while driving long hours at night – he didn’t have enough rest which led to a head-on collision with a bus.

The biggest lesson I learnt from his accident is that road safety is everyone’s responsibility. We have to recognise the signs of fatigue, and when in doubt we should always safely pull over and take a 15-minute power nap.”

Victoria works as the Office Administrator at Civilex and brought her partner along to the walk. “When I first decided to join the walk, it was to help raise awareness around road safety – mostly for my colleagues working alongside roads.

But after considering the cause further it suddenly became much more personal to me. 20 years ago my mother came into my room with tears in her eyes and told me my friend Daniel had been involved in a car accident. He had lost control of his vehicle on an icy country road after enjoying a couple of beers. With his best friend in the passenger seat, Daniel’s car skidded straight into a tree and both were killed. At Daniel’s funeral, his younger brother looked down into the grave, crying and shouting for his big brother to come back.

I don’t wish this pain on anyone. No one should have to lose a loved one and constantly be thinking: what if we did something different? What if they had waited 10 minutes for someone else to drive them? What if they hadn’t consumed those few mid-strength beers? Would his reactions have saved them? What if they had hurt someone else?

For me, alcohol and driving do not go together.”

The Shine A Light On Road Safety campaign is supported by the Victorian Government, the TAC, VicRoads and Victoria Police. More information about VicRoads Towards Zero Strategy and Plan.

If the content of this article causes you or someone you know any distress, please contact RTSSV direct on 1300 367 797 for free counselling and support.

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