Transport Accident Commission
The Transport Accident Commission (TAC) is the statutory insurer of third-party personal liability (CTP insurance in other states) for road accidents in the State of Victoria, Australia. It was established under the Transport Accident Act 1986.
Its purpose is to fund treatment and support services for people injured in transport accidents. The TAC's support covers medical and non-medical expenses incurred as a result of an accident, for example income support for people whose injuries prevent them from performing normal job duties, or return to work programs, and equipment or aids, such as wheelchairs or crutches that are recommended by a healthcare professional. Funding used by the TAC to perform these functions comes from compulsory payments made by Victorian motorists when they register their vehicles each year with VicRoads.
The TAC also has a duty to help reduce accidents on Victorian roads. It is responsible for the majority of road safety advertising in the state.
In January 2009, the TAC headquarters moved to a purpose built building in Geelong, which was designed by MGS Architects and went on to win an Award for Commercial Architecture at the Victorian Architecture Awards.
Public Education Campaigns
The TAC is known for its powerful road safety public education campaigns which emphasize the personal costs of dangerous driving practices (such as speeding and drunk driving) using emotive, educational and enforcement based themes.
In 1989 the increasing cost of accidents caused VicRoads and the TAC to adopt a new approach including:
- a significant boost to enforcement resources targeting speeding campaigns to sign-post change and help set the public agenda
- a sustained and community-based road safety bodies, and
- an emphasis on evaluating their effectiveness
For its part, the TAC funds television and billboards coupled with high-impact advertising.
The TAC's most well known slogan is If you drink, then drive, you're a bloody idiot, which was introduced in 1989. This slogan has become a catchphrase in Australia, and has even been used in other countries (including Canada and New Zealand). In recent times, this has been replaced with Only a little bit over? You bloody idiot to reflect the danger of low-level drink-driving.
Another well known slogan is Don't fool yourself, speed kills which was introduced in 1994. This has also been modified in recent years to reflect low-level speeding to Wipe off 5.
Other recognised TAC slogans from the 1990s include Belt up, or suffer the pain, Take a break, fatigue kills, It's in your hands, concentrate or kill, and Country people die on country roads.
A recent safety campaign drew attention to life-saving in-car technologies, such as Electronic Stability Control and curtain airbags. The aim of this campaign was to encourage car buyers to ask for these important safety features when purchasing their next car (the TAC has set up a website to promote this, www.howsafeisyourcar.com.au). The Victorian Government has mandated this as a future design requirement.
TV Advertising Campaigns
There have been over 40 TV adverts produced by the TAC covering a range of areas concerning road safety, many of which can currently be viewed on YouTube.
The first TAC ad, depicting a couple arriving in hospital after the man crashed while drink-driving. The man has his arm in a sling while the girl is taken to the emergency room to be operated on. Her parents are called and on arrival are informed that she may lose her leg. The man tries to see her, but is angrily chased away by the mother, and they are separated by security. While the man is crying, a nurse explains that the people who cause the accidents have to live with it and "that's the real tragedy."
Depicts an accident scene in which the driver of a car went 90 in a 60 zone and hit a young boy who died at the scene. His mother mourns his death while an ambulance officer explains, amongst other things, that "the faster you drive, the harder you hit, the more damage you do."
Depicts a distraught young girl after a road accident, who mourns the death of her friend, a passenger in the vehicle she was driving.
Depicts a pair of couples in a car driving along a regional road. The driver is distracted, loses control of the car and rolls off the side of the road into a ditch. One of the occupants is killed in the crash; moments later, leaking fuel is ignited and the car is engulfed in flames. The next morning, a couple of farmers discuss the crash and the resulting fire, with one them assuming it was 'city kids' who didn't know the road before his wife comes outside, devastated, as their grandson was the driver who was killed.
Depicts a young man, Brett, and his brother, Joey, leaving a party. Joey pleads with him to let him drive, as he feels Brett has had too much to drink. Brett ignores his warning and orders him to get in the car. Later, Brett starts swerving the car to prove he can control it. Joey begs for him to pull over, but he swerves again and loses control, crashing the car. Later, Brett is alone in a hospital and screams out Joey's name, lamenting on how he killed his brother.
6 O'Clock News - 1993 - "Don't fool yourself, speed kills."
Depicts a young man leaving for a fishing trip and saying goodbye to his family, assuring them that he is fine to drive as it is a long time since he last received a speeding ticket. Later in the day, the family members are watching the evening news when they recognise his car in coverage of a road crash where the driver has been killed.
Depicts a young driver speeding on a gravel road who is impatient to arrive to pick up a friend and is encouraged to speed by his friend. He reassures his girlfriend in the front passenger seat that he knows the road, but loses control of the car on the gravel surface, clips a school bus, runs far off the road and crashes into a tree.
Depicts a man driving a car while four empty glasses of beer are placed in front of him indicating how much he has been drinking; he crashes into the back of a parked truck and is killed. The police inform his wife, who starts to cry, and her daughter come in and asks what's wrong.
Courtroom - 1993 - 1:00 - "Don't fool yourself, speed kills."
This advert showed an impatient motorway driver who speeds into the emergency lane, running over a man who was changing a tyre. She is then shown in court being sentenced for manslaughter, and cries out to the victim's family that she's sorry.
Overtaking - 1994
Depicts a young male driver on a country road with his young sister in the passenger seat. He is stuck behind a semi trailer and pulls out to overtake it on the crest of a hill, colliding head on with another semi-trailer as a result.
Depicts a young woman not wearing a seat belt, distracting the driver of the car which subsequently runs into a parked truck; the woman is thrown through the front window and is later shown recovering through difficult physiotherapy. This was the first advert to depict a long-term injury.
Depicts a car full of teenagers on a country road, who are not wearing seatbeats, while the driver is speeding and is distracted by play fighting in the car; despite a passenger's attempt to warn the driver, the car drives through a stop sign and collides with another car before bursting into flames, killing three of the occupants. Later, it is revealed that the fourth, Darren, had died in hospital. The advert ends when the victim's parents in the waiting room embrace after hearing Darren's mother scream. An alternative version has a friend who was following them being interviewed and Darren's sister screaming for him.
Depicts a man whose wife and children visit him in prison. He recalls how he went to the pub to celebrate his wife's pregnancy, drove home and caused a crash which killed a child. His wife is worried that he will miss their baby's first birthday, and asks if he will get parole. The driver breaks down and his family is seen leaving the prison in tears.
This advert depicts a mother in a rush to pick up her son at kindergarten, and while driving at 80 km/h through a 60 km/h residential zone, hits a young boy who runs onto the road chasing his dog, killing him. The boy's mother rushes to the scene, crying, while the mother attempts to say sorry.
Depicts a couple of girls going to a party. While driving, they are constantly looking behind to see if two male friends are coming to the party with them, and hit a car side on after running a red light. The men come out from their car to find the two girls uninjured, before rushing to the other car, where they find a woman dead and her baby crying. He tells his friends that she's died and the girls start crying, knowing they have killed the child's mother.
The advert begins with a girl winning a netball game for her team, and later celebrating with her friends. Afterwards she is offered a lift home, but is hesitant to accept as she knows the driver has had a drink. However, after succumbing to peer pressure, she reluctantly gets in the car, and the car crashes into a stone pillar, causing her to suffer severe brain damage. Later, as the viewers are shown how much her life has deteriorated since the injury, the girl says that the worst part was losing all her friends and how much she regrets getting in the car.
Depicts an almost blind person explaining how he lost his vision after taking off his seat belt for a few seconds to reach for a street directory on the floor, before the car crashed.
Speed Cameras - 1995 - 0:30
This advert features a family discussing the issue of speed cameras around the dinner table. Their son, in his early 20s, is disdainful of speed cameras, which he claims are just there to make money; his father takes the matter more seriously and warns him to watch his speed on the road. The same scene is later repeated with the son now paralysed and suffering from a brain injury, having apparently ignored this advice.
Courthouse - 1995 - 1:00
This advert shows a man being picked up from court by a friend, having just lost his licence. It is revealed through their conversation that the man caused a crash due to speeding and his girlfriend was seriously injured.
A man decorates a Christmas tree with his two children and pregnant wife on Monday. On Wednesday, he drinks alcohol with friends at an office party before driving his car; he subsequently crashes into a telephone pole and suffers a severe brain injury.
A continuation of the "Monday, Wednesday" advert. On Thursday, the man's family await news of his condition as he is kept alive on life support, all telling themselves that he'll be fine. By Sunday it is revealed that his brain has stopped functioning and they must turn off the life-support machines. His devastated parents and wife then say goodbye to him as he is disconnected.
A conclusion of the "Thursday, Sunday" advert. On Christmas Eve, the man's funeral is held and, as his wife breaks down in the car, his upset children ask their grandparents if their father will be at the church. On Christmas Day, his devastated wife opens presents with her children as one of them asks if Santa will find their father, and she struggles to answer.
Depicts a man drinking alcohol with friends before driving home with his son and their dog, while joking about their friend's belief that they'll never be caught drink driving. They take a detour to avoid a booze bus, and laugh when they see a car pulled over by the police; but the driver runs their ute through a stop sign and they are hit side-on by a truck. The man's friends are later phoned to inform them of the accident. This ad targeted rural drivers who are more concerned with trying to avoid getting caught drink-driving (often by relying on word of mouth to warn each other when police have been spotted nearby) than the risk of crashing.
Very graphic content. Depicts a man being hit by a car at around 70 km/h. The footage is then shown in slow motion whilst a physician explains the effects on the human body in such a situation before adding that "Had you been braking from 60ks and not 70, there's a good chance you could have stopped in time." The scene of the crash at the beginning of the ad became misused as a darkly humorous viral video in the late 90s, alongside the crash from the movie Meet Joe Black.
The very first motorcycle safety advertisement from the TAC, this ad features a rider weaving in between traffic when he is struck by a car and loses control, falling off his bike and having his legs run over by a passing vehicle. He is then shown at home, permanently bound to a wheelchair, where he struggles to make it to the toilet in time before he breaks down crying.
Depicts a man driving his wife and children in a car long distance through a regional area without enough sleep. He eventually falls asleep, and the car runs off the road and into a lake. He escapes the sinking car and screams for help, but there is no one around to help him save his family.
Shawn leaves his job at a restaurant and heads into his Kombi, where his girlfriend is waiting to make an overnight trip. They drive through the night, and the next morning, Shawn is clearly having trouble staying awake. His girlfriend wakes up as Shawn briefly drives into the other lane before his fatigue gets the better of him, and he crashes the Kombi into side of a truck, killing himself and his girlfriend. The ad ends with the semi-truck's driver getting out to see the crash.
Leave the crunching to the Tigers - 1997 - 0:30 - "If you drink, then drive, you're a bloody idiot."
This ad consists of footage of players from AFL team Richmond colliding into opposition players during games. The ad ends with a voiceover saying "These are the only crunches the Tigers like to see" before displaying the "Drink, drive, bloody idiot" message in yellow upon a black background (rather than the usual TAC colour scheme of white upon a black background) as yellow and black are Richmond's team colours.
Two men are watching AFL club Essendon on TV. After the club scores and celebrates, one of the men rushes into another room and the many things he is quickly doing are audible, and he soon comes back in with a big pile of food. The ad ends with commentator Rex Hunt saying "And that's the only speed the Bombers like to see." Another version shows game footage of Essendon playing well and ends with Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy announcing "And that's the only speed the Bombers like to see."
The Game - late 1997 - 0:30 - "If you drink, then drive, you're a bloody idiot."
Two supporters of AFL club Richmond are watching their team play at the Melbourne Cricket Ground while drinking beer. After the game, they are seen walking in the car park, and as one of them attempts to unlock the door with his key, they hear a strange noise, which is actually a cartoon tiger on the car's bumper sticker roaring. The men interpret the sound as a sign they have had too much to drink and decide to walk home instead, and catch the train to the next game.
Depicts a man driving slightly over the speed limit who loses control of his car and collides with a telephone pole, killing his wife. The narrator explains, "For every five Ks over the limit, your risk of crashing doubles."
Depicts police officers catching drivers exceeding the speed limit on a stretch of road, who hear many different excuses for why the drivers were caught speeding. Later, the police officers get a call to a road accident, resulting in the death of a young girl and a woman whose husband lost control while speeding.
Very graphic content. Depicts a young man driving a short trip home after drinking alcohol with his friends at a pub, but his reaction time is reduced, and after he is distracted by something in his car, he hits and kills two elderly pedestrians walking their dog. Later it is revealed he has been sentenced to five years in prison for the accident.
Depicts a couple arguing in a hospital emergency ward because the boyfriend, John, insisted on driving his girlfriend home after drinking even though she claims to have told him she wanted to take a taxi. John initially refuses to take breath and blood tests but the staff insist it is mandatory. The police then arrive to read his rights and tell him that the driver of the other car has died.
The first TAC spot targeted at L and P plate drivers, this ad depicts 3 young and inexperienced P plate drivers, who each end up making a serious mistake while driving. Before the outcome of each is shown, the scene cuts away with the voiceover asking the viewer - "what happens now?".
Depicts a car in a low speed collision with another car, and a male occupant is not wearing his seat belt is thrown around inside the car. A physician explains the effects on his body as the footage is replayed in slow motion, and it is shown that the man is now disabled.
Depicts a tired driver pulling over to take a powernap after an alternative course of events, where instead of pulling over, the driver falls asleep at the wheel and crashes into a construction vehicle at a roadwork site where the car bursts into flames before the driver can escape the wreck.
This advertisement is a montage of various TAC campaigns from the previous 20 years, set to the song "These Days" by Powderfinger. Rather than mentioning death, this ad pointed out the fact that at the time, 46 people were injured on road crashes in Victoria every day.
A five-minute retrospective of the road safety campaigns produced by the TAC over the last 10 years, with the song "Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M. playing during the montage. This was reused for their 20th anniversary, adding on the adverts from 1999-2009. The 2009 version became the TAC's most well-known ad prior to the introduction of Graham in 2016, despite being a montage of prior ads.
Depicts a young man who has consumed low levels of alcohol and collided with a parked tray truck, killing his girlfriend. A series of flashbacks then shows the two of them at his girlfriend's father's birthday. This is intercut with the emergency teams declaring her dead as her father arrives. Her father then discusses all the things she'll never do again, and how he'll never forget having to choose a coffin for his daughter.
Depicts a boy being attacked by a shark at a beach, who screams for help while many people look on apathetically and continue to go about their business. The narrator explains: "Every year hundreds of people are killed on Victoria's roads, and this is how we react. It's time we changed."
Depicts a young woman driving on her birthday whilst text messaging when a young boy rides a scooter further down the road and is subsequently hit by the car.
Very graphic content. A series of two ads usually aired within the same commercial break. The first depicts a man driving a car 5 km/h over the speed limit who hits a young girl riding a bike, leaving her seriously injured. The second shows the events later as he argues with his wife over the incident; he explains that if he'd been under the speed limit he may only have broken her leg.
Follows a middle-aged man throughout his daily life who is haunted by images of a young boy staring accusingly at him. It then shows the man earlier in his life, when he killed the young boy with his car whilst driving with just a small blood alcohol content reading. This advert was recreated by the British Department of Transport nine years after the original aired.
Depicts drivers caught on red light cameras while driving through red lights. The narration explains that "if you're lucky, you'll only be snapped twice; one snap if you're speeding, another if you run the red." The scene of a fatal road accident in which the driver has suffered a broken neck is then revealed, in which the narrator explains "If you're not so lucky, you'll get a third snap".
An advert explaining that 15-year-olds should book to apply for their learner's permit so they can get as much practice as possible before applying for their Probationary license. Rather than showing graphic crash scenes, the ad features bright colours and techno music, presumably to appeal to the target demographic.
Depicts a young woman in an operating room who has crashed while riding her motorised scooter. It is revealed that she was not wearing any protective clothing and as a result has lost a large amount of her skin.
Depicts a car being driven along a road from the perspective of a fatigued driver who subsequently wanders off the road without realising and collides with a tree. The narrator explains "Your eyes don't have to shut for your mind to be asleep."
Depicts a young man in an operating room who has crashed while riding his motorbike. It is revealed that he was only wearing denim, not protective leather or Kevlar, and as a result has lost a large amount of his skin.
Depicts the drivers of a car and a motorcycle changing places and explores the thought processes of a motorcycle driver in heavy traffic. The motorcyclist is not seen by the driver of a car who changes lanes, forcing him off his motorbike.
Depicts various events in which drivers who are using mobile phones, changing CDs and talking to other occupants are involved in accidents or near accidents.
Depicts various events in which drivers who are using mobile phones, changing CDs and talking to other occupants are involved in accidents or near accidents.
Depicts several occasions in which a man driving on regional roads narrowly avoids booze buses until eventually he is pulled over by one and is found to be slightly over the limit. The narrator explains that there are an increased number of booze buses operating.
Depicts several occasions in which a man driving on city roads narrowly avoids booze buses until eventually he is pulled over by one and is found to be slightly over the limit. The narrator explains that there are an increased number of booze buses operating.
Depicts two cars at a test scene, one going at 65kmph and the other at 60 km/h. A truck appears in front of them and they both brake. The driver going 60 km/h hits the side of the truck at 5 km/h, causing a minor dent. The driver going 65 km/h hits at 32 km/h, seriously damaging the car and being injured.
Post-Mortem - 2002 - "Wipe off 5."
Depicts a driver recalling in flashbacks the events leading up to a crash which killed his young daughter, who would have survived had he been travelling at just 5 km/h less.
This advertisement is set at a training session of the Victorian Bushrangers cricket team at Melbourne's Junction Oval. Bushrangers captain Cameron White talks about how cricket is a game of concentration, and during training, the players take a break every 2 hours to refresh their minds. White says it's the same when a driver is out on the roads.
Depicts a man driving home late at night who is pulled over by a booze bus. He passes the alcohol test and it is then explained to him by the police officer that he will now be tested for drugs, to which he appears surprised. The narrator explains that booze buses now also test for the presence of other drugs. This was rerun in 2015 with the slogan "If you drive on drugs, you're not thinking straight."
Depicts a drink driver at a fatal crash explaining what he has caused (only a LITTLE bit of injury, grief, death). As he is arrested he says, "But I was only a little bit over."
A woman who has suffered brain injury talks about side curtain airbags and explains that before her crash she knew nothing about them, whilst now she is an expert.
Depicts a young man accepting an offer to take drugs at a nightclub. The events of that night and the early morning are revealed in pieces out of chronological order, including the man driving a car before hitting and killing a pedestrian. Later, he spends the night in a jail cell whilst coming down from the effects of the drug.
This news-making advertisement features relatives of 10 real-life victims of crashes where speed was the main factor. In the ad, the people are seeing, holding and staring at photos of the deceased. The song used in this ad is a cover of The Cure's "Pictures of You," performed by Angie Hart.
This ad, which aired over the Christmas/New Year holiday period, features Victoria Police's traffic commissioner Ken Lay warning drivers that over the period, the police would have more booze buses and patrol cars on the roads than ever before.
Depicts a man and a separate version of himself who gives commentary on his driving habits in various situations, making excuses for speeding, until eventually he causes a serious road accident.
Depicts Peter Bellion, investigator of the Victoria Police MCIU (Major Collision Investigation Unit), assessing an accident where a woman was killed. He shows a reconstruction where the driver went 5 kilometers slower and the woman only had a bruised leg.
Depicts a couple at a party. The man smokes a joint of marijuana with a friend. His partner tells him it's time to go home. While driving, he is obviously impaired (waiting at an intersection where there are no cars in sight, alternating in driving too fast and slow), until he agrees to let his partner drive. As soon as he steps out of the driver's side, he is hit and killed by an oncoming car.
Depicts two people ordering drinks before leaving a bar believing they are still the standard levels to keep you under 0.05. The barmaid begins emptying out beer from each glass according to the circumstances of each man (being tired, having earlier drinks, different glass sizes, etc.), and seeing they are left with considerably emptier glasses, decide to leave.
Depicts various motorcycle riders taking dangerous chances until one loses control and is hit by an oncoming four wheel drive.
A sequel to "Reconstruction" from 2009, again featuring Peter Bellion of the Victoria Police MCIU, who investigates a crash in which a motorcyclist going at 68 km/h broke his neck on impact with a car and died instantly. The incident is reconstructed so that the motorcyclist is going at 60 km/h, where he is able to brake earlier and the driver can stop in time.
Depicts a man driving on regional roads, who is distracted by various things inside the car (such as the sat-nav, his mobile, and the radio). The advert demonstrates that for the two seconds he is distracted, he travels 27 metres "blind" (as he is not looking at the road) and hits a woman who is crossing the road with a pram.
Depicts a man driving on city roads, who is distracted by various things inside the car (such as the sat-nav, his mobile, and the radio). The advert demonstrates that for the two seconds he is distracted, he travels 27 metres "blind" (as he is not looking at the road) and hits a girl who is getting off a school bus.
Depicts a man who is distracted while driving and doesn't notice another car swerving in front of him. A narrator explains that, with auto-emergency braking, the car will automatically brake if the driver does not; and the advert demonstrates the different consequences depending on whether or not the car comes equipped with this feature (the car being able to stop in time, or causing a rear-impact crash in which several people are injured.)
Depicts the reality of having to live with an alcohol interlock for drivers whose licences are cancelled because of drink-driving.
Depicts a young boy in the back of a car, attached to strings like a puppet. He imitates the actions of a driver, including using a mobile phone while driving, and abusing other road users. It is then shown that he is mirroring the actions of his father at the wheel, who displays similarly dangerous behaviour.
Depicts the reality of having to live with an alcohol interlock for drivers whose licences are cancelled because of drink-driving.
Depicts a comparison of the "Nightshift" advert with a modern recreation, first showing the drivers looking fatigued. The original's ending is first shown, with the outcome of the Kombi crashing into the side of the truck. The recreation is then shown, but with the outcome of the driver and his girlfriend avoiding collision. A narrator then explains that, despite people making mistakes, improvements have been made to make roads, cars and speeds safer.
"Graham" is a sculpture designed by Melbourne-based artist Patricia Piccinini, of what a man would look like if it was made to survive a car crash. The sculpture has no neck, a large head, extremely flexible knees, and "airbags" with nipples covering all of his ribs. The ad went internationally viral, and became possibly the TAC's most famous ad of them all, albeit in photographic still form. Like the similarly-viral "10kph less", Graham's grotesque look was used as a source for dark humour, especially with social media users not from Victoria, or not from Australia at all.
Video Game Advertising Campaigns
Also, in Grand Theft Auto 4, if you get Niko drunk and then drive, either he or his drinking partner will say "Niko, if you drink then drive, you're a bloody idiot".
Australian Football League Partnerships
The TAC has had partnerships with the Australian Football League and its teams to help road safety messages reach audiences at a grass-roots level.
Most famously, the TAC was the major sponsor of Richmond for 16 years through the "Drink, drive, bloody idiot" campaign, which saw the "Drink drive" message displayed on the team's jerseys which was terminated when a Richmond player was caught drink-driving. The TAC also sponsored Essendon from 1994 until 2000 with the "Don't fool yourself, speed kills" campaign, and Collingwood from 2002 until 2006 with the "Wipe off 5" message.
Non-AFL sporting partnerships
The TAC has been the major sponsor of the quasi-national under-18s Australian Rules Football league, known as the TAC Cup, since its inception in 1992. Outside Australian Rules, the TAC has partnerships with A-League side Melbourne Victory and the Australian Formula One Grand Prix.
- TAC Headquarters by MGS Architects. 04.05.2010. Retrieved on 30.03.2015
- Official Website
- TAC Official YouTube Channel
- TAC Road Safety Website
- How Safe is Your Car
- MAFMAD Make a film. Make a difference
- Spokes, Motorcycle safety website
- Investigation of audience perceptions of TAC road safety advertising