NSW Blues tackle road safety head on


Transport for NSW and the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues team have released the first episode of a powerful three-part mini-documentary series on social media, showcasing the importance of teamwork and good decisions on and off the field. 

Tara McCarthy, Deputy Secretary of Safety, Environment and Regulation at Transport for NSW, said the series, called Building the Blues, part of Transport's successful Knock-On Effect campaign, shows that rugby league and road safety have more in common than meets the eye. 

"Teamwork and good decision-making skills are important for both winning a game and keeping our roads safe," Ms McCarthy said.

"We must all do our part to keep our roads safe by making good decisions to help ourselves and others arrive safely to their destinations."

Speeding, fatigue, and drink driving are three leading causes of death and injuries on NSW roads.

"Between 2016 and 2020, speeding, drink driving, and fatigue contributed to about 57 per cent of deaths and 34 per cent of serious injuries on our roads," Ms McCarthy said.

"So far this year, 83 people have lost their lives in crashes where at least one of these three was a contributing factor."

Road safety is close to the hearts of the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler and advisor Greg Alexander, who lost a close friend and brother, Ben Alexander, in a drink driving-related crash in 1991. 

Mr Fittler said, "We used to drink-drive and speed, and sadly that killed my best mate. When I look back, I realise I am lucky not to have the same fate.

"The most intelligent people are those who can learn from other people's mistakes. 

"Speeding, drink driving, and fatigue are things we can control with good decisions." 

Mr Alexander said bad decisions on the field might cost the team a penalty, possession or even the game, but that pales into insignificance compared to the knock-on effect of one bad decision on the road. 

"Any distractions while driving can have a disastrous impact on you and those around you," Mr Alexander said.

"No phone call, no message, no email is worth your life or anyone else's." 

For former Sydney Roosters player turned NSW State of Origin squad mentor Boyd Cordner, the message is simple, "If you are drinking, don't drive." 

He said: "In a year, I lost two people in car crashes where the other drivers were under the influence.

"If you're under the influence of alcohol or drugs or are driving tired, those are all bad decisions, and the repercussions are deadly."

Ms McCarthy said, every 46 minutes, someone is killed or seriously injured on NSW roads. 

"That's about the time it takes to watch half a game of football," Ms McCarthy said.

"I urge everyone to stay under the speed limit and drive to the conditions, do not use your phone when driving, be well-rested if you are about to get behind the wheel, take frequent rest stops or swap drivers if you are driving long distances, and never ever drive if you're affected by drugs or alcohol.

"On our roads, one bad decision can impact an entire community." 

For more information about the Government's commitment to reducing road deaths and serious injuries, visit www.towardszero.nsw.gov.au.

Vision available: https://bit.ly/3NBDBVo