Narembeen awarded for road safety excellence
23 October 2018
Narembeen Community Resource Centre in the heart of the Wheatbelt has won the Insurance Commission Regional Safety Award at the 2018 Western Australian Regional Achievement and Community Awards.
The Insurance Commission sponsors the award to recognise community-led initiatives that promote road safety in regional areas. Narembeen Community Resource Centre won the award and a $2,000 prize for its week-long event, S.O.C.K. – Save Our Country Kids.
Following five road fatalities in 2016 – all young people with direct links to Narembeen – the community responded to get the road safety message to the front of people’s minds and the S.O.C.K. campaign was created.
The Centre coordinated the week with activities including free coffee for drivers in specially decorated cups, ‘Fluro Friday’ hi-vis day, posters in shop windows and a display on tyre safety. The local police visited the school and used ‘reverse ticketing’ to reward good driver behaviour.
Powerful stories from those impacted by road tragedy were used on social media and the week culminated with a ‘One Minute Siren’ community remembrance event to those lost on local roads.
Kane Blackman, Commission Secretary at the Insurance Commission, says: “Congratulations to Narembeen Community Resource Centre on winning the Regional Safety Award – a fantastic achievement. The S.O.C.K. event really captured the judges’ attention with its coordinated approach to engage the entire community and influence driver behaviour.”
Leanne Brooke-Mee, Narembeen Community Resource Centre coordinator, says: “The Narembeen community has a sad history of feeling the effects of poor decisions made by drivers on country roads. The S.O.C.K. campaign was designed to raise awareness of drivers needing to exercise better judgement when driving on rural roads to ensure that tragedy doesn’t strike again.
“We hope the campaign has influenced many minds, both young and old. S.O.C.K. will continue as an annual event and we want to use its success to invite other regional communities to get involved.”
Regional WA crashes
The cost of crashes in regional Western Australia for the Insurance Commission was over $90 million last year and it received 2,400 new motor injury insurance claims. It estimates that it will pay $1 billion in future expenses for regional claims received to date.
Kane Blackman says: “Road safety is so important in our regional communities because car crashes are still over-represented in those areas. For example, around half of catastrophic injuries occurred on regional roads but only 38 per cent of people catastrophically injured live there.
“And the impact of crashes has a more profound effect on smaller communities. As the state’s insurer, these awards help recognise regional initiatives that can prevent those crashes and minimise their impacts.”
The Regional Safety Award runners-up were Rotary Club of Geraldton for its driver education program for Year 10 and 11 Midwest students; and Northam Local Drug Action Group for its #AvonLocalsDrivingChange campaign to create conversations about road safety.
Kane Blackman continues: “We’re all road users and road safety is a shared responsibility, so it was encouraging to receive award nominations from across the state. Both runners-up for the award deserve great credit for delivering successful initiatives in partnership with other stakeholders.
“We would like to thank everyone involved in making our roads safer.”
The awards evening took place last Friday (19 October 2018) at the Hyatt Regency, Perth.