A GENEROUS cheque awarded to two local police officers for their road safety advocacy has been put towards supporting those touched by the road toll.
Senior Constables John Keats and Trudy Morland, who were jointly awarded $2500 by the Rotary Club of Warrnambool East for this year's Dr John Birrell Award, have given the money to Road Trauma Support Services Victoria.
"We know they are very underfunded, yet their work is so important," Leading Senior Constable Morland said during an official cheque handover at Simon's Waterfront.
"Road safety is something that John and I are really passionate about as community engagement officers."
RTSS provide counselling and support services to people impacted by road trauma, and address road user attitudes and behaviours.
"We are all about raising public consciousness about the impact of road trauma," RTSS regional co-ordinator for Warrnambool and Portland Rhys Tate said.
"This donation comes as a perfect segue into our annual Shine A Light road safety awareness program. This year, we are expanding our safety message with other landmark illuminations and specific road safety campaigns to help save local lives.
"For every person involved with road trauma, another 30 to 40 are affected."
After the cheque handover, a prize was awarded to former Warrnambool mayor and Western District Road Safety Council member David Atkinson.
Mr Atkinson has been part of the roads action group for over 30 years, playing an instrumental role in liaising the community needs to VicRoads and various campaigns including the Keep Left campaign and the learner driver log book.
"I feel quite honoured to be recognised by my peers in this way," Mr Atkinson said.
"Being the soundboard for the VicRoads by voicing the needs and views of the community has been a large part of my work, as well as bringing all the services together to bring about road safety improvements.
"Road safety involves all road users, it's everyone's responsibility."
The Dr John Birrell prize recognises Mr Birrell's work as Victoria's police surgeon from 1957 to 1977 and his initiates have saved tens of thousands of lives.
Among his most significant moves were to introduce breathalysers, random breath testing, the .05 legislation, the abolition of the "6 o'clock swill", motorcyclists' helmets and the compulsory wearing of seatbelts.
Victoria's road toll peaked at 1061 in 1970, but legislative change, strict enforcement and improvements to roads have cut it by more than two-thirds.
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.