Horror stories don’t have to be written: Figures say we are at a higher risk

By Ivy Jensen

WE ARE four times more likely to die in a crash than metropolitan road users.

Because we live in the country.

It is an alarming statistic that Denise Moseley did not realise until she started as the Road Trauma Support Services north-east regional co-ordinator five months ago.

‘‘It’s quite frightening,’’ she said.

‘‘No-one goes out intending to kill or seriously injure someone else with their driving behaviour, but mistakes happen frequently.’’

That is why she is so passionate about raising awareness about road trauma to motorists from Echuca-Moama to Shepparton.

‘‘While only 33 per cent of Victoria’s population live outside of Melbourne, 66 per cent of fatalities occur on country roads,’’ she said.

‘‘Last year in Victoria there were 259 fatalities and, on average, for each death, another eight people suffer catastrophic injuries like paraplegia, quadriplegia or severe brain injuries.’’

‘‘The ripple effect impacts the parents, siblings, children, partners, in-laws, friends, employers and sport colleagues. With one person, you’re looking at 45-50 people who are impacted so multiply that by the number of fatalities and it has a huge impact.’’

As part of her role with RTSS, which is based in Shepparton, Ms Moseley runs road trauma awareness seminars which she hopes to bring to Echuca and Kyabram.

‘‘Kyabram is a problem area with road infringements. Once we get referrals, we’ll look at running something in Kyabram,’’ she said.

Ms Moseley said she had met with visiting Echuca magistrate Michael King to discuss referring road offenders to the program.

‘‘He’s been very vocal about supporting us,’’ she said.

Ms Moseley said the session was different to the Cool Heads program which was run by Victoria Police.

‘‘It’s a great program but it’s only for young people,’’ she said.

‘‘Our program offers counselling and support services free of charge to anyone who needs it.

‘‘We also do activities and have a guest speaker from an emergency services group or a crash survivor.

‘‘Most people are referred by a magistrate, solicitor, men’s group or doctor but we do take self-referrals.’’

Ms Moseley encouraged anyone interested in attending a seminar to contact 1300 367 797.

In the meantime, she urged all motorists to stay safe on the roads this Christmas.

‘‘Every driver needs to be alert, free from illegal substances and excessive alcohol levels and importantly needs to stop being distracted — travelling at 100km the distance covered is too extensive for even minor lapses of concentration,’’ she said.

‘‘Think about your family and friends, how would they cope without you?

‘‘Please drive safely this Christmas and spend the holidays with your loved ones.’’