The ripple effect of road trauma

The Knox Teenage Road Information Program (TRIP) was initiated following a road accident that was responded to by Dandenong Crash Rescue, where five teens lost their lives. On 7 August 2019, over 520 teens and family members registered to take part in the program.


CFA's Tim Holland spoke about the "ripple effect" of road trauma

(This article contains information and content which may be distressing for people who've been affected by traumatic loss, and is not suitable for young children due to the mature nature of the event and presentation. Parental discretion is advised.)

TRIP has run since 2011 in the Yarra Valley as an inter-agency collaborative activity. With CFA, Victoria Police, Victoria State Emergency Service and Ambulance Victoria all on board, the program aims to educate young drivers to make safer decisions on the road. 

Aimed at 16 - 25-year-olds, TRIP is a free two-hour event designed to be hard hitting. It focuses on this age group because it is over-represented in serious injury and collisions where lives are lost on Victorian roads.

The program aims to help teens and young people learn what their role is in road safety and understanding the consequences when they are not responsible behind the wheel.

The August program was the first time it has run in Knox as a location, with the intention of doing alternating years between the two locations.

CFA Commander Tim Holland, who presented at the Knox TRIP, described "the ripple effect" that comes with road trauma. Event organisers handed out 176 grey wristbands to participants as they entered CityLife Church in Wantirna South, and at the beginning of his presentation Tim asked this group to stand up.

“This is how many people have died on our roads this year, and it's only August,” Tim said. 

“Every two hours someone is injured, and every 29 hours someone dies on our roads. Their family, friends, colleagues, witnesses, emergency services workers - are all affected when someone makes a bad choice. One death can cause hundreds of people to be affected.”

Detective Sergeant Mark Amos from Victoria Police's Major Crash Collision Investigation Unit looked at the cost of making the vital errors that seem to be so commonly causing road trauma.

“They’re not accidents, they’re collisions because someone caused it,” Mark said. “$3-4 billion each year is spent on the results of crashes. The real cost is that every minute of every hour of every day, someone is missed.”

“Choices have consequences, and when you drive you accept this responsibility,” Mark said.

Professor De Villiers Smit, Director of the Trauma Centre at the Alfred Hospital, discussed the statistics surrounding what trauma is and what the causes are.

“Road trauma kills more Australian youth than all other causes combined - around 45 per cent,” Professor Smit said. 

“Accidents are external factors, mistakes are thought processes - and then there are bad choices. With most road trauma, the young person has made a choice that has led to it.”

Knox TRIP: The decisions you make today can and do influence the rest of your life.

Helpful links:

More information relating to the Knox TRIP, as well as contact details for organisers, can be found here.

Road Trauma Support Services Victoria is a state-wide service, not-for-profit organisation contributing to the safety and well-being of road users. The service is free, available to anyone, and more information can be found on the RTSS website.

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

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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.

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Author: Daisy Cleland