Educating teens to reduce road fatalities
The Teenagers Road Accident Group, or ‘TRAG’, has been providing road trauma presentations to secondary schools in the South East of Victoria for 20 years.
200 students from secondary schools learn why being responsible on the road could save their lives.
Disclaimer: This article covers emergency road trauma information, and may be distressing for some.
Following sessions in July, the program will have reached more than 3,500 people in 2019 alone.
Since 1999, the TRAG program has spoken to more than 100,000 young people from secondary schools across the Mornington Peninsula and South-East Melbourne.
The presenters are a combination of emergency services, including CFA, Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria, Victorian State Emergency Service (VICSES) – as well as a variety of victims and family members who have been affected by road trauma. All presenters give their first-hand experiences of road trauma, in the hope of reducing the number of young people adding to the road toll.
“This program is really about making good decisions and spreading the word. The next one could be you – or someone you know,” Mick Romeril, TRAG Representative and Retired Senior Constable (previously from Dromana Police Station), said. “One in four people in our community will be affected by road trauma – either directly, or indirectly this year. We hope everyone can come away with the knowledge that could save your life.”
3rd Lieutenant Georgie McDonald from Dromana CFA spoke about some of the horror crashes she's attended.
The program was initiated by CFA Dromana Fire Brigade’s Captain in 1999, Craig Solly, who started TRAG after there were a number of deaths of young people in the Mornington Peninsula.
Other emergency services, community groups and victims or those affected by young adult road toll growth joined the program: and TRAG was born.
Georgina (Georgie) McDonald is 3rd Lieutenant (Training and Development) at Dromana Fire Brigade. Georgie spoke to over 200 students on 22 July at Peninsula Community Theatre in Mornington, presenting on both her experience attending road crashes and her personal connection to these horrific incidences.
“I try not to think about the scenes I attend too often, but often I’ll drive past and I’m reminded,” Georgie said. “Timothy Hocking: 17 years old from Rosebud Secondary College. He was my cousin, and he was number 92 of the road toll this year. If you feel like you’re in danger, do whatever it takes to get out of that car. Don’t become a statistic.”
Priscilla Grimme shared her experiences of road trauma as a Volunteer with Frankston VICSES at TRAG.
“Young people are dying at an alarming rate on our roads, your decisions have consequences,” Ambulance Victoria paramedic Naomi McAlister said. “The most horrific crash I attended was five young men in Crib Point, we received a call for advanced life support and air support. A silver station wagon was wrapped around a power pole, with a body hanging through the front window. It took 2.5 hours to cut them out, 3 helicopters. Two dead, three survived but will never be the same again.”
Simon, a 17-year-old student from Western Port Secondary, attended the TRAG session on 22 July. “It’s shocking to realise how often it happens around me. This really got the message across – you don’t really hear of the horrors,” Simon said. “They were in the same situation we are in – you don’t think about how close it is to happening to you.”
For more information on TRAG or to enquire, visit http://trag.org.au/
CFA Wellbeing Support Line
If you are not okay, or if you notice a change in someone you know, contact the CFA Wellbeing Support Line on 1800 959 232 to access free, confidential support that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Wellbeing services are available to all CFA volunteers, employees and their immediate family members.
The support services include the Member Assistance Program with Psychologists and Counsellors, Traditional and Career Firefighter Peer Support Programs, Chaplaincy Program, Bullying and Harassment Hotline, Let Me Know web-based app, Centres Against Sexual Assault as well as other services provided by the Organisational Wellbeing team.
To view the complete range of services visit www.cfa.vic.gov.au/wellbeing