The parents of a ten-year-old boy who almost lost his life in a quad bike crash three years ago have joined the Queensland Government as quad bike safety advocates.
Atherton parents, Jodie and Mario Cocco (the Coccos) were officially welcomed to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland’s team of safety advocates in Townsville on Thursday by Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace.
“At just seven years old, Domenic Coccos suffered severe head injuries when he crashed a kid’s quad bike belonging to a family friend,” Ms Grace said.
“The Coccos want to prevent other parents from experiencing the horror they lived through by sharing their story with the community.
“Domenic was thrown onto the bitumen after colliding with a power pole, with no helmet on.
“This nightmare event has Jodie and Mario passionate about quad bike safety, which makes them the perfect advocates to join our Ride Ready cause.
“Fortunately, Dom has made a full recovery and now mum and dad are keen to spread vital quad bike safety messages to as many Queenslanders as possible.
“We all need to be aware how dangerous these vehicles can be.”
Ms. Grace said more than 70 people have been killed in quad bikes incidents in Queensland since 2001 — approximately 30 percent of all quad bike-related deaths in Australia.
“Queensland also has the highest number of quad bike-related hospitalisations with around 1,500 over a five year period,” she said.
“Market research conducted by WHSQ in 2016 showed deeply entrenched attitudes toward quad bike safety, so this led us to develop the Ride Ready quad bike safety campaign.
“The advertising campaign has run every school holiday period since late 2016 and we’ve seen some positive changes in attitudes and beliefs about using quad bikes in Queensland.”
Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper reminded North Queenslanders to always put safety first when riding quad bikes.
“It’s wonderful to have the Coccos family as advocates to help spread the quad bike safety message here in North Queensland and throughout the state,” he said.
The Coccos are keen to see the statistics and poor behaviours improve.
“The statistics are way too high, as are the emotional and financial costs to families and the community,” Jodie Cocco said.
“We know exactly the kind of anguish you go through when something goes wrong around a quad bike. I didn’t know if Domenic was alive when I raced over to him straight after the crash. Then it was touch and go for a while with Dom in an induced coma for four days.
“But after a month in hospital and two operations, he’s fine. So now, Mario and I just want to help other parents avoid the horror of not knowing if their child is alive or dead.
“The best way to do that is to always wear a helmet, never let kids ride adult-sized quad bikes, and get some training before hopping on.”
The Coccos have also featured in a short film which recounts the tragic circumstances. The video Too Fast Too Soon – Domenic’s Story (external site) has been viewed more than 4,400 times. Find out more about quad safety and test your knowledge in an online challenge with a chance to win a Shark helmet at www.qld.gov.au/rideready.