Hero to Healing

'Hero to Healing' Indigenous Drink Driving Program

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As part of her PhD Linked to another web site, Dr Michelle Fitts explored the motivations that influence Indigenous people to drink drive in remote communities through one-on-one interviews with convicted repeat drink drivers and developed a community-focused drink driving pilot program.

The program was piloted in two communities in Far North Queensland (Cairns and Cape York) and one regional centre in northern New South Wales (Clarence Valley).

This program was different from other drink driving programs because it replaced “individual blame” with shared community responsibility.


Peter Vulcan Award

This research led to Dr Fitts receiving the prestigious Peter Vulcan Award for the best paper during the Australasian Road Safety Conference (ACRS 2015).

Steering Clear logoThe prize is awarded to the first author of the research paper presented at the conference which is ranked best against the criteria of: scientific/technical merit of the work; potential contribution to road safety; and originality of approach.

The paper was entitled "Drink driving among indigenous people in Far North Queensland and Northern NSW: a summary of the qualitative findings" and the authors were Dr Michelle Fitts and Dr Gavan Palk.

Read the paper Linked to another web site

Read the announcement in CARRS-Q Safety Visions [PDF, 349KB]


Final report

The final report from the study, funded by the National Drug Law Enforcement Research Fund, is available on the NDLERF website Linked to another web site.

Funding opportunities to implement the program in other communities and conduct a multi-method evaluation are currently being explored.