The state-wide lockdown has postponed the Annual Transport Accident Commission (TAC) Road Safety Round that was to be played on the weekend of July 16th.
However, the new restrictions haven’t dampened the efforts of Keilor Park Football Club and their campaigning for safer roads.
Keilor Park FC first got involved with the TAC program in 2019 and were determined to help push the road safety message.
Club vice-captain and TAC ambassador Luke Furci embarked on a social media campaign aimed at delivering a clear message that hoped to both educate and promote conversations surrounding safe driving attitudes and road safety.
Arriving at the club in 2019 as captain, Furci was involved in the original TAC campaign where club captains all wore the number zero on their jumper to help promote the road safety message.
Furci credits that campaign as the catalyst for his continued involvement with the TAC in an ambassadorial role, giving him the opportunity to continue helping spread “awareness” around the road safety message.
“We had the TAC round where all captains had to wear zero (on their jumpers), and that’s where it all started from, having that focus and responsibility,” said Furci.
Seeing his responsibility as a leader, Furci was determined to build on the original campaign in 2019 by helping to create engaging content that reinforced safe driving behaviours.
Pairing up photos and information surrounding the road safety message with contributions from members of the Keilor Park community, the campaign culminates with a powerful and emotive video covering the potential dangers of drink and distracted driving.
“We reviewed what we had done and wanted to take it up a level, video being one of them, and more regular posts with different angles from drink driving, speeding, learner permits, buckling up, the lot,” he said.
Releasing the campaign across their social media platforms has allowed Keilor Park to reach and impact a large section of their community, with this feedback proving to be overwhelmingly positive.
“I have been seeing the notifications come through of you know (stuff like), best thing I have seen on Facebook in a long time,” he said.
With the campaign receiving widespread praise, club treasurer Peter McGrady has also been overwhelmed by the overall support and engagement shown by the Keilor Park community.
Whilst the club has benefited through a grant from the TAC that has aided in creating the campaign, McGrady believes the Keilor Park community seized the opportunity to be a part of what he describes as a “fun” campaign.
“To be honest, people didn’t even think about the grant so much, it actually became one of the many fun and socially responsible topics to discuss and have fun around,” said McGrady.
Piggybacking off of the interest, McGrady has been blown away by both the feedback and willingness of the Keilor Park community to get involved in the program in any way they can, highlighting to him the overall importance of the road safety message as a whole.
“The number of volunteers that have put up their hand to be a part of this campaign is enormous.”
“We’ve got people asking questions like ‘why can’t we be involved?’,” said McGrady.
McGrady also believes the interest around this campaign has helped change attitudes around volunteering around the club.
“It’s actually changed the whole mindset of rather than sit in the car and wait for their kids to finish training, we have parents asking why can’t they be involved in the TAC campaign and why can’t their kids be involved.”
When asked why he believed the campaign struck a chord with the community, McGrady noted how he believes everyone has had a potential “close call” experience.
“I think everybody knows somebody that has been directly impacted by a horrific story and I think all of us have had close calls.”
“I think all of us have lost concentration, done the wrong thing and had a near miss, it’s very relevant to every single person,” he said.
This TAC campaign is just one of many initiatives created by Keilor Park FC as they work towards building an inclusive and socially responsible culture that welcomes all within their community.
“We are trying to build a culture that starts at the top, our committee is socially responsible, our senior men are socially responsible, it’s then an easy ask of our junior families and kids to (also) be socially responsible,” said McGrady.
Looking forward into the future, Keilor Park FC are determined to continue campaigning for safer roads and driving attitudes whilst hoping to also incorporate ideas from the current TAC campaign and apply them towards different issues and topics.
“We want to continue to do this campaign, but we also want to do this campaign across different issues and topics.”
“Let’s not just do a one-day post. How do we build up to it to remind people of the importance of the day? It’s changing our whole social media approach, it’s not just about football,” said McGrady.
Due to the impact of the most recent COVID lockdown, the 2021 Victorian TAC Road Safety round has been postponed with the hope to highlight this important issue in the not too distant future when local footy can return to the field.
You can view Keilor Park's road safety video here.