Real stories reveal lifelong emotional and widespread impact of lives lost

A killer driver, the parents of a man whose life was lost in a road tragedy and the first responders who attended the scene – these are just some of the faces of an emotional new road safety campaign that offers raw insight into the enduring effects of road trauma.

Nicholas Holbrook was just an 18-year-old passenger in a car travelling at high speed – driven by his best friend Phillip – when it slammed into a tree on West Lakes Boulevard in June 2009.

The latest advertising campaign, developed by South Australia Police’s Media Road Safety Unit (SAPOL MRSU), features never-before-seen interviews with Phillip, exposing the psychological and emotional scars caused by the experience of Nick’s death.

Police, Emergency Services and Road Safety Minister Vincent Tarzia said the campaign highlights the far-reaching impact of road trauma by sharing Nick’s story through the eyes of different people directly and indirectly involved in the crash, including parents Glynis and Michael Holbrook.

“These are real stories told by real people – emotive and powerful content that will reach all drivers on different levels,” Minister Tarzia said.

“Watching this campaign resonated with me on so many levels – as a father-to-be, a son, a brother, a friend. I can’t see a situation where people wouldn’t be affected in some way by these heartbreaking stories.

“It’s clear there is such thing as six degrees of road tragedy. You never know who your choice will impact.

“Sadly, this is yet another reminder for all drivers to be responsible. The road is full of surprises – speed and you could be one of them.”

Appearing on TV from Sunday 1 August, the campaign includes 13 different segments which will be released gradually to build the story of Nick’s crash from various perspectives.

It begins with Phillip’s recount of the moment he learned his irresponsible behaviour caused Nick’s death.

Billboards will display the important campaign theme while other key advertising will be strategically placed in shopping centres, online and on social media to target those most represented in road trauma offences.

SAPOL Deputy Commissioner Linda Williams said the emotional campaign is a stark reminder to all drivers that one irresponsible decision can affect many lives, forever.

“As well as depicting the mental prison that these people now live in, the campaign asks every South Australian a poignant question: What damage will your driving do?” said Deputy Commissioner Williams.

“It warns that one stupid act on the road can cause life-long damage and nobody wants to live with that guilt.”

The new campaign launches as the Marshall Liberal Government continues to urge South Australians to have their say on a new 10-year road safety strategy that aims to halve the number of lives lost on our roads.

South Australia’s Road Safety Strategy to 2031 (the draft Strategy) proposes an ambitious 10-year target to dramatically reduce road tragedies, with hopes of achieving a drop from the current three-year average of 96 per year to less than 47 per year by 2031.

The draft Strategy also sets a target to reduce serious injuries on our roads by 30 per cent by 2031 – a reduction from 708 to fewer than 515 on average.

Read the draft Strategy and submit your feedback by completing a short survey at yoursay.sa.gov.au/road-safety. Written submissions can also be emailed to DIT.RoadSafety@sa.gov.au.

The community consultation period remains open until 5pm on 1 September 2021.

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