We need to talk about choices

POLICE are understandably frustrated their best efforts were not enough at the weekend.

To quote Acting Senior Sergeant Della Nihill from the front page of yesterday's Advertiser, ''unfortunately, our best wasn't good enough''.

"It's clear more education needs to take place within the community about consequences,'' she said.

And Acting Senior Sergeant Nihill is correct.

If we speed, it’s our fault. If we drink and get behind the wheel, it’s our fault. If we drive erratically, it’s our fault.

If we are behind the wheel and cause a motor vehicle crash and kill someone, it is our fault.

It is not the fault of Victoria Police, or any individual police member.

Police members are not entirely responsible for preventing road trauma - we are.

We need a police presence on the roads as regular reminders that laws are in place – but it’s up to us to abide by them. 

Those laws are designed to protect us. The role of the police is to enforce the laws – and they are doing all they can to get the message out about the importance of being safe and sensible on our roads.

But they can’t, and won’t be, everywhere. They cannot follow every single car to ensure every single driver is playing by the rules.

That is up to us.

The past weekend has been an horrific reminder of the need to be responsible on our roads.

We are each responsible for how we conduct ourselves behind the wheel - it's a trust we put in each other as motorists, that we will all respect the rules that are there to protect us.

We need to help our children understand that a driver's licence is not a licence to be reckless.

They must respect the law and others on the road. 

And they must learn how to make responsible decisions - and importantly, that they alone are accountable for the consequences if they don't.

It is our role as parents to raise our children to understand consequences for behaviour.

It is also our role to help our children understand the importance of respect - for laws that are there to protect us, and those enforcing them.

The past weekend is what happens when people don't show respect for the law and choose not to follow the rules. People are killed. Many others are left hurting.

Families, emergency services, all who witness or attend the scene. No-one walks away from a road fatality with being affected in some way.

As Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Robert Hill said, "I would say to all parents to go and hug their kids and have the conversation with them about taking responsibility on our roads''.

Please have the conversation.

The past weekend has been an horrific reminder of the need to be responsible on our roads.

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