The Journey through Victoria's remarkable life saving system for road trauma victims


Why safer roads, safer cars and safer drivers are key to minimising road trauma, even in the event of human error.

Every time assistant commissioner Doug Fryer reads a road crash summary, he worries that is the crash where emergency staffers might decide they have seen so much trauma they can't go back to work.


Impact would not have been possible without help and of encouragement from a great many people from several organisations. Impact was inspired by “Sudden Impact”, which featured in a special pullout section of The Age in 2002, written by Gary Tippet and photographed by Simon O’Dwyer. With modern technology, such more lightweight digital cameras, RoyalAuto was able to take the story a step further back, right to the scene of the crash and then all the way through surgery and on to rehabilitation.

It is intended that the telling of such an important story will encourage governments to build safer roads, car companies to build safer cars and drivers to be safer.

Our thanks to:

Ambulance Victoria : Tom Noble and all the Air Ambulance paramedics, all pilots, crew and staff who were so accommodating, not only when we flew, but in all the downtime between flights, over many months. All the road paramedics who assisted us at scenes and in Emergency.

Royal Melbourne Hospital : Professor George Braitberg, Susan Harding, Melea Tarabay, Jessica Hedger, Ishani Hewage and all the RMH medical and nursing staff, Radiology and other staff who generously assisted.

The Alfred : Professor Mark Fitzgerald, Dr Helen Stergiou, Corey Nassau, Elizabeth Muling and all the doctors, nurses, and surgeons at The Alfred who generously allowed us to observe them doing what they do best.

Victoria Police : Assistant Commissioner Doug Fryer, Road Policing Command; Superintendent Dean Stevenson and Ben Radisich, all the pilots, crew and staff of the Police Air Wing, Leading Senior Constable Peter Edyvane, Monbulk Police, and every officer who helped us in so many ways too numerous to mention.

The patients and their families : Allowing and encouraging the telling of a story that captures patients at their most vulnerable takes a level of courage and determination we can only imagine. The patients and their families don’t want anyone else to suffer as they have. We are grateful to each and every one of them, especially: Trent McGaffin, Jandi Gibson and Chris McGaffin; Greg Kelly, and his wife Anne; Carl Lewis, and his partner, Carlie Stokes; Alec Caldwell, Tanya Caldwell and James Caldwell.

RACV : Impact would not have been possible without the help of many people at RACV, including (but not limited to) Brian Negus, Susan Allen, Duncan Elliott, Alison Dean, Melinda Spiteri, Dave Jones, Amanda Willimott and many others.

Reporter: Nick Place has worked in senior editorial and writing positions within newspapers, magazines, television, radio and the internet. He has covered international sporting events, edited many publications, been a film reviewer, worked as head writer and producer on live-to-air commercial network television shows and sports coverage, and even been responsible for editorial development at The Age Online (for which he was nominated for a Walkley Award). He has been published as a novelist, screenwriter, poet, illustrator, comedy writer and non fiction essayist.

Photographer: Meredith O’Shea has worked with several media outlets including The Age (Fairfax Media) and the Guardian Australia. Meredith is a regular photographer with RoyalAuto, the RACV membership magazine. Her work has been exhibited in China, Japan, Cambodia and in Australia. Meredith won a 2010 United Nations Association of Australia Media Peace Award for the promotion of multicultural issues for a print and multi-media special on the issues confronting Indian students. She was a finalist again in the 2011 UN Media Peace Awards. In 2016, she was runner up in the Melbourne Press Club’s Quill Awards for her iconic image of a high-five between a policeman and a protester.

Video: Miguel Rios is a musician and filmmaker. He has produced videos – including musical composition, videography and editing – for RoyalAuto’s digital assets (online, apps, social) since early 2015.

Editor, producer: Seamus Bradley is editor of RoyalAuto, the RACV membership magazine. His experience includes social, digital and print. He is a former Associate Editor at The Sunday Age and News Editor at The Age. He was highly commended in both the Walkley Awards and a Quill Awards.

Digital producer: Djohan Kurniawan provide strategic consulting for online web project and facilitates the development and enhancements of RACV website.

Sub-editor: Clare Barry is an experienced print and online production journalist. She has worked with The Age, The Sunday Age,, News Corp’s Sunday Magazine and in custom publishing.

Design: Lisa Luscombe is the Art Director at RoyalAuto, RACV’s membership magazine.

Social media: Georgie Haberfield is RACV’s social media editor. Georgie worked with News Corp as an online, social media and video reporter.

App: Jo Barron is RACV’s multimedia specialist.