Cool Heads challenges risky driving behaviours

By Madeleine Caccianiga

The driving behaviours of almost 150 young people and their parents were challenged at the Cool Heads event on Wednesday night.

Shepparton Police Area Commander Inspector Troy Hargadon welcomed guests to the Goulburn Ovens Institute of TAFE auditorium and said there had already been five lives lost on the region’s roads this year.

He said the aim of the evening was to challenge some of the risky driver behaviours including speed, fatigue, alcohol and drug use as well as things such as complacency on country roads.

Attendees heard from guest speaker Detective Sergeant Stephen Hill from the Major Collision Investigation Unit, who provided a hard-hitting talk about the consequences of poor driving behaviour.

‘‘We won’t be making any apologies, some of the topics that we’re going to discuss tonight are quite hard hitting and quite graphic but the idea is to drum home to the young kids that it can happen to them and it doesn’t always happen to someone else,’’ Det Sgt Hill said.

Taking the time to provide road trauma statistics, Det Sgt Hill told the attendees he hoped all of them would take away the knowledge to make good choices while on the road.

‘‘This is now the 11th year this program has been running and I think in this area they’ve seen a dramatic decrease in the amount of young people involved in fatal and serious injury collisions,’’ he said.

Shepparton Search and Rescue events co-ordinator Chloe Judd knows first hand the devastation fatal collisions can have on everyone who is involved.

‘‘I hope that by listening to my story it will actually make them realise that it doesn’t take much, it can be a split-second decision and it can not only change their own lives but everybody else’s around them,’’ Ms Judd said.

‘‘I think that’s the main message to get across to think about what you’re doing and whether you want your life changed in a negative way forever.’’

The group also heard from Shepparton truck driver Stewart Edgar, who was involved in a collision on Grahamvale Rd where his truck collided with a sedan travelling west on Ford Rd.

The driver of the sedan — a 61-year-old Dookie man — died but Mr Edgar walked away physically uninjured.