In the lead up to the official national launch of JOURNEY BEYOND ROAD TRAUMA over Easter, more than 10,000 pages have been viewed in the past week by hundreds of founding members, who have signed up during the Beta (trial) stage.
Along with Sandra Cook, I am one of the produces of the site, which is an online social network for anyone affected by road trauma. Since the Beta site went live around Australia Day, people from all over the country have joined up, demonstrating that it meets a huge need in the Australian community.
Behind every fatality and serious injury statistic there are thousands of stories. Around 1600 people die on Australian roads each year and another 140 people are seriously injured each day. Thousands more are affected by road trauma through their work in the emergency services, legal professions and disability sector.
By joining JOURNEY BEYOND ROAD TRAUMA people can tell their story and connect with each other. Under the guidance of road safety experts, the community can channel their grief into positive action by collectively campaigning for road safety. The online space can also be used as an educational resource to complement already existing road safety campaigns.
Sandra and I believe that people affected by road trauma – either by a serious injury or a fatality – often feel voiceless and need to be heard.
This has proven to be true; with an astounding initial response from people sharing stories about both recent losses and also people who lost a loved one 20 years ago. People living with an acquired brain injury, road crash rescue workers and counsellors have also joined.
On joining the community, members can set up a profile, create memory spaces, connect with others affected by road trauma, tell their story with blogs, upload video, watch short documentaries and make a tribute pin by marking the scene of the collision on a Google Map.
Existing support groups or road safety campaigners can set up their own group within the community, as a place to keep members informed or to engage in debate.
This community-based project has been sponsored by Screen Australia, the Royal Automobile Association (RAA) in South Australia, the AER Foundation and the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC).
We are currently looking for additional funding for stage two of the community, which will include a real time calendar, the ability to make hard copy books, a more sophisticated campaign engine and a community manager to organise special events.
Visit the community at www.journeybeyondroadtrauma.org
You can view the press kit, FAQs and images at http://journeybeyondroadtrauma.org/cms/marketing-materials
You can listen to me being interviewed about the site on Bay FM at 10.10am AEST next Monday, 29 March. Tune into 99.9FM if you live in the Byron Shire or listen online at www.bayfm.org