Mitchell crowned Bridgestone Bandag Highway Guardian

Stopping to help in the wake of a car crash, truck driver Matthew Mitchell’s actions have been commended

Mitchell crowned Bridgestone Bandag Highway Guardian
Matthew Mitchell (right) is the latest recipient of the Bridgestone Bandag Highway Guardian award, with Bridgestone Australia and New Zealand managing director Andrew Moffatt.


The Bridgestone Bandag Highway Guardian award has been presented to Victorian truck driver Matthew Mitchell for his efforts to comfort a fatally wounded motorist after a car crash in Pakenham.

Awarded at the 2016 International Truck, Trailer, & Equipment Show this morning, the commendation highlights professional truck drivers who go above and beyond in the name of community service during their working day.

For Mitchell, the incident came earlier this year at the scene of a two-vehicle crash, where he went from vehicle to vehicle to check on the occupants.

Being one of the first people to the accident, he discovered one of the drivers was slumped over the steering wheel.

"I couldn’t get the door to open, so I reached in and wound the window down," Mitchell says.

"I tried to feel for a pulse, and tried to get the lady to respond. I couldn’t be sure, but I felt like there was maybe something there, so I told her to just hang on, help’s coming.

"The emergency services over the phone asked if we could get her out, but we couldn’t, so they told us to just lay her down.

"I was holding her head and telling her to wake up, squeeze my hand."

Unfortunately for all involved, the arrival of the paramedics confirmed the driver had passed.

"I got out, walked away, and burst into tears," Mitchell says.

These actions exemplified the qualities of a highway guardian winner, Australian Trucking Association chair Noelene Watson says.

"It’s a tragedy any time someone sets out on our roads and doesn’t make it back home," she says.

"Our hearts are with the family and friends of the woman who didn’t make it out of this crash.

"Unfortunately, our Highway Guardians can’t save everyone. But Matthew’s act of compassion and care meant that she didn’t suffer alone – he was there to provide company and reassurance.

"There can be no greater act of kindness than this."

Sentiment that is shared by Bridgestone Australia and New Zealand managing director Andrew Moffatt, who says "not only did he act calmly and rationally to reduce the danger of the situation, including having the foresight to disconnect the car battery, he also acted with great kindness and compassion."

"This was a tragic incident and we all wish there had been a different outcome," Moffatt says. "It is a sad but clear reminder of the importance of road safety.

"It also reinforces the value of this award which is all about highlighting the great work many truck drivers are doing every day to make the road a safer place."



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