Amber Community: providing support for people impacted by road trauma

Holding hands at group counselling

Jessica Taylor Yates

Posted July 01, 2022

Beginning as a grassroots network in 1994, the Amber Community has grown to become a haven of support for thousands of people who are impacted by road trauma every year.

As of 2022, an average of 260 lives are lost every year on Victorian roads, but the number of people injured and impacted is much greater.

"I wish people understood that road trauma could happen to anyone; a simple lapse in concentration or distraction can have a catastrophic impact, not just on our own lives but on the lives of the other people involved,” says Amber Community CEO Bernadette Nugent.

Nugent is passionate about the support The Amber Community provides to more than 7,000 Victorians every year, with “free support and counselling to people who have been impacted by road trauma.”

At its core, the Amber Community looks to lower the impact of road trauma through education and prevention, while inspiring people toward building a safer community on our roads.

National Road Safety Week founder, Peter Frazer, looking solemn while a tram goes pas behind him

The ripple-effect when a trauma happens on our roads is immesurable and often forgotten.

Supporting the community

Formerly known as the Road Trauma Support Services Victoria, the Amber Community provides road incident support, education, and counselling in Victoria - either by phone, online or in-person, to support people who have been impacted by road trauma.

Regarding the name change, Nugent says “from a road/driving perspective, amber represents slowing down, making the right decisions, and taking care. This is an important message that we continuously promote within our community, and is one that provides meaning for our name.”

The work of the Amber Community extends to state-wide education programs focusing on road safety and prevention with schools, workplaces, and community groups to help those in the transport, logistics, and emergency services sectors.

This may include anyone impacted, says Nugent, including “families who have lost a loved one, first on-scene and witnesses, drivers, including those who are responsible for a crash, and emergency services responders.”

The Amber Community also hosts a peer support art therapy group in Melbourne’s Surrey Hills.

Road safety at the forefront

As part of their education programs, volunteers share real-life stories about the impact of road trauma on their lives. This “helps people understand why road safety is important,” says Nugent.

“Be aware that we are all vulnerable to road trauma, and when we use the roads, drive, walk and cycle, do it safely, be mindful, and don’t take unnecessary risks,” she says.

“This includes not driving when you are fatigued or have been drinking or taking drugs, driving at the speed limit, adapting to the weather and road conditions, and removing all distractions.”

Every May, The Amber Community holds the ‘Shine a Light on Road Safety’ campaign, which consists of a group walk around Albert Park Lake in Melbourne. It’s a good way, says Nugent, for “people impacted by road safety [to] come together to shine a light on the impact of road safety, and…help us get the message out to the community that road trauma can happen to anyone.”

Walkers can fundraise to help support those affected and continue to grow road safety programs.

On the third Sunday in November, the Amber Community also hosts a ‘Time for Remembering’ ceremony at Melbourne’s Parliament House, which acknowledges lives lost, those injured and those affected by road trauma.


Man on his mobile phone while driving

"A simple lapse in concentration or distraction can have a catastrophic impact."

Continued support

The Amber Community has recently partnered with Nationwide to create a range of workshops focused on road safety and workplace well-being, with real-life personal experiences being shared to promote safety on our roads.

RACV supports the commitment to road safety, as well as the enforcement of speed limits, better signage at roadworks, driver rules, and safe technology, and is active in campaigning for the Government to reduce 60km/h school speed zones to 40km/h to protect children.

RACV continues to advocate for safer roads for everyone through better infrastructure, driving tips, improvements, safe access, education, and awareness campaigns.


The Amber Community offers free information and counselling to anyone impacted by a road collision. Contact them on 1300 367 797 or on this link.