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Bellarine North & Bayside Geelong Rotary Clubs hosted a dinner and presentation night to acknowledge the part played by members of Victoria Police on improving Road Safety in the Western region.

The Dr John Birrell Road Safety Practitioner of the Year award was initiated by a Rotary member and named after the Victorian Police Surgeon who fought against bureaucratic, political and public disinterest about the effects of alcohol of road accident victims, their families and the community in general. As a direct result of Dr John Birrell’s work and subsequent changes in legislation, road and vehicle improvements and advertising, road death numbers have steadily dropped from a peak of 1034 in 1969 to 220 last year.

The Dr John Birrell Road Safety Practitioner of the Year award winner was Victoria Police Sergeant Jamie Kahle from Colac. He graciously accepted the award but was quick to state his work team in Colac district are all equally deserved. He was also keen to point out that even the 220 road deaths per year in Victoria is still 220 too many and that individual road users, VicPol, TAC, VicRoads, state and local governments must work together to reduce the toll.

Sergeant Jamie Kahle is working with town community groups to help reduce the lives lost on their local roads with amazing results. The residents report the drivers taking risks to the Police who respond and intervene early to avoid death or injury.

As winner of the Dr John Birrell Road Safety Practitioner of the Year award the two Rotary Clubs provided $3000 to donate to the group of the winners choice. Sergeant Jamie Kahle chose Road Trauma Support Services Victoria, a not-for-profit organisation contributing to the safety and wellbeing of road users by providing counselling and support to people affected by road trauma.

The group also heard from other members of Victoria Police about the high level of emergency service personnel who suffer PTSD due to what they see regularly at crash sites and supporting families who are affected by road trauma. The TAC called to action their “Towards Zero” campaign in 2016 to get the annual lives lost on our roads to zero because even one death is too many.

Publicity Officer

Bellarine North Rotary Club

0408 989 221


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