True Blues team up to save lives in regional NSW

The NSWRL together with Transport for NSW, hit the road last week to take the message of drink driving and its Knock-On Effect to the youth of Tamworth and Narromine.

True Blues Mark O’Meley and Ben Elias pushed the message of mateship, the importance of looking out for one another and stopping that one decision that could change a life.

“It’s lessons on the field that you can be taking in to real life situations, taking that line together, looking out for each other,” O’Meley said.

In 2018, 354 lives were lost on NSW roads with close to 70% of those lives being lost on country roads and a staggering 28% of fatalities on country roads being alcohol-related.

Taking the Knock-On Effect to country towns like Tamworth and Narromine is aimed at bringing that figure toward zero.

The effect these fatalities have on families and local communities is devastating, and NSW Police and Firefighters turned out to also share this message with the teams at Tamworth.

“If you have been drinking, put the keys down and get a lift home” NSW Fire Station Officer John Hughes said. 

Acting Senior Sergeant Mick Buko added: “You have to think about everything and stop being selfish there is a bigger life out there.

“You’re all mates the last thing you want to do is go to the funeral of one of your mates.

“One small moment, can change your life forever.”

Transport for NSW Ambassador Jamie Manning knows just how much a road accident can change your life forever, having been involved in a horrific crash five years ago.  

Manning was driving home from work when he had to swerve to avoid an oncoming truck before hitting a tree causing his car to burst into flames.

He was trapped inside the vehicle before a neighbour managed to pull him from the wreckage.

“It was a matter of 90 seconds of getting out of that car that it blew up and was engulfed in flames, that’s how close it was,” Manning said.

“The worst thing was (my wife) Karen came up looking for me, because I was late getting home and all she saw was my ute in the tree on fire. She collapsed in the middle of the road, she thought I was still in the car and they couldn’t get me out.’’

Coming out and talking to the Narromine Jets, Manning told the effect the accident has had on his life and the community.

“It’s moments like this when I talk about the accident, when I think of my children, my wife, my parents growing up without me around that chokes me up, to think of how it’s affects everyone in my community,” he said.

“Things that change in your daily life to, it now takes me an hour to get ready, everyday something so simple as getting out of bed takes longer now, I am a double amputee.”

Buko said it was important for the Knock-On Effect to deliver its message throughout country NSW.

“It’s all about having that conversation, no one talks anymore so the wider you can spread the message and make the conversation happen could mean you’re changing someone’s life,” Buko said.

The Knock-On Effect will travel to Griffith and Shell Harbour and then move up to Maitland and Wyong.

For more information on the knock on effect go to www.theknockoneffect.com.au