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TAC's Youth Message Warms Up for Summer Road Safety

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11 Nov 2011

MEDIA RELEASE: 11 NOVEMBER 2011

As uni exams wind up and schoolies celebrations kick into gear, the TAC is amping up its effort to save lives by sending a big orange party bus to summer youth events.

The bus, known as Vanessa, is a project giving young people the chance to chill out and be engaged in road safety in a more relaxed way.

Vanessa offers festival goers potentially life-saving tips and breath tests for motorists who might have over-indulged, a well as free water and coffee and chill out zone during festivals and concerts.

This weekend's Harvest Festival in Werribee is Vanessa's first stop for summer, with more than 30 youth events in her tour diary for the months ahead.

TAC CEO Janet Dore said the tragic deaths of 16-year-olds Ebony Dunsworth and Aaron Piroska in separate crashes recently were harsh reminders for young people to look after their mates and take care on the roads.

"It is such a serious message that we hope every young Victorian listens to, but we know that preaching is not the best way to get the message across," Ms Dore said.

"This is why Vanessa’s style is so effective."

Seventy-six people aged between 16 and 30 have been killed on Victorian roads this year so far, with 33 aged between 16 and 20.

In addition to giveaways and promotions, visitors to Vanessa can expect to see the world through beer goggles, be the first to see Make a Film, Make a Difference (MAFMAD) road safety ads and chat with staff about ways to avoid getting into the dangerous 'party in the car' scenario.

Vanessa has been on the road touring youth-focused events since 2005, when she was first created out of a disused booze bus.

"Young people recognise her, they seek her out at festivals and they want to be part of the activities Vanessa offers.

"She's the friend every young person should have as she encourages them to have a great time, but reminds them of the importance of not drinking and driving, stopping for a rest when fatigued and looking after your mates," Ms Dore said.

When Vanessa is not on tour, young people can engage with her messages online using Facebook where she regularly runs campaigns and competitions.

Other events in Vanessa's tour diary this year include the Queenscliff, Meredith and Falls Music Festivals, the Big Day Out and Uni Open Days.

More information about Vanessa can be found on her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ilikevanessa or on the web at www.vanessabus.com.au 

For further information please contact Sarah Henderson on 0429 294 262.

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