New grassroots road safety campaign piloted on the Surf Coast

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22 Mar 2021

A new campaign being piloted on Victoria’s Surf Coast will aim to reduce road trauma through visual reminders of how important road safety is to local communities.

The Transport Accident Commission has teamed up with the Surf Coast Shire Council to deliver the initiative, ‘Drive Safely Because’, which highlights reasons to drive safely and create a safer community.

The TAC has worked with the council to identify road safety issues that the campaign will prioritise, particularly around protecting vulnerable road users such as children, pedestrians and cyclists.

After a summer tourism surge on the Surf Coast, and with the busy Easter break approaching, it's more important than ever to remind residents and visitors about how our behaviours on the road can affect community safety.

TAC Head of Road Safety Samantha Cockfield said keeping local roads safe was everyone’s responsibility and the campaign encouraged people to take ownership of road safety in their own backyard.

“By partnering with local government and directly targeting their priority areas, we hope this initiative will help make an immediate impact on the way people use roads in the beautiful Surf Coast Shire,” Ms Cockfield said.

“The grassroots campaign aims to humanise road safety, and remind people that the foremost reasons to slow down and drive safely are the families and friends that we share their local roads with.”

In the past five years, nine people have been killed on Surf Coast Shire roads, including two deaths this year and none recorded the previous two years.

However, 278 people have been hospitalised with injuries from Surf Coast crashes in the five years to June 2020, including 50 people last financial year.

Surf Coast Shire Council Mayor Cr Libby Stapleton said she hoped the visual nature of the campaign would help motorists make a connection to the human face behind every crash.

“Whether it’s your children walking home from school, or your grandparents heading to the shops in their car, we all have loved ones we want to see arrive home safely,” Cr Stapleton said.

“I hope this initiative drives these road accident statistics right down – for the sake of our entire community.”

The highly visible campaign will be driven by co-branded and customised marketing, on-street signage and activations via a range of community platforms, and more than 200 organisations and events, like local farmers’ markets, surf lifesaving clubs, schools and businesses.

People on the Surf Coast will see unique blue and white signage in priority areas highlighting reasons to drive safely, like the message ‘because my family surfs here’ below speed limit signs near popular beaches.

‘Drive Safely Because’ will also be piloted in the Mornington Peninsula Shire, with insights and data from both campaigns to help inform future road safety partnerships with other Victorian LGAs.

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