‘Dickhead’ road safety campaign blasted

By Jackson Saunders
Updated November 6 2012 - 2:54pm, first published March 29 2010 - 12:18am

A FORMER Bendigo police sergeant and member of the Community Road Safety Council in Bendigo for 10 years believes a Victorian road safety campaign that calls young drivers who disobey road rules “dickheads” is appropriate.But Greg Penno doubts whether the new online advertising campaign will get the road safety message across. “The message isn’t getting through at all. I drive across town all day, every day, and I see people on the phone all day, every day,” Mr Penno said.“Without a doubt, I would see 10 or 15 people a day on phones while they are driving.“It’s an epidemic. I’ve almost had some really serious collisions.“I had a young driver recently who went through a red light about four seconds late, talking on his mobile phone with his head down. ‘’He had no idea what was going on around him.‘’All they think about is themselves.”The State Government campaign, announced yesterday, labels young people using mobile phones while driving - or not wearing seatbelts - as “dickheads”.An active member of Lead On Bendigo, Leah Meade, 20, said she believed it was unfair for young drivers in particular to be singled out in the campaign. Lead On Bendigo is a community organisation aimed at strengthening relationships between youth and business, and providing opportunities for young people.“I think we’re targeted because we are younger, but often it’s a lot of the older people doing silly things as well.“Older people are as guilty as young people of talking on their phones.”Opposition transport spokesman Terry Mulder said the campaign made a mockery of the Government’s respect agenda. “I think it’s an appalling message. I think it’s a shocking message, one of the worst I’ve ever heard.” But Police Minister and MP for Bendigo West Bob Cameron disagreed. “Road safety campaigns are designed to confront, and this one confronts people that don’t have respect for other people on and off the road,” Mr Cameron said.

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