Blue Datto wins at Australian Road Safety Awards

KEEP THEM SAFE: Colleen Vassallo with a picture of her late son Philip at her Berkshire Park home. Picture: Geoff Jones
KEEP THEM SAFE: Colleen Vassallo with a picture of her late son Philip at her Berkshire Park home. Picture: Geoff Jones

IT’S been a busy few months for Hawkesbury charity Blue Datto Foundation, which was recognised with a host of awards for its work keeping young people safe on our roads.

In March, the team at Blue Datto was recognised at the Australian Road Safety Foundation’s Australian Road Safety Awards, a program designed to acknowledge the achievements of leading road safety stakeholders.

Blue Datto was named winner of the Community Programs Award (from a pool of 21 applicants), and also received the pinnacle gong, the Founders Award for Outstanding Overall Achievement.

Blue Datto co-founder Colleen Vassallo said: “We are very honoured and very excited to share our success at the 2018 Australian Road Safety Awards”.

Earlier in the year, the charity was recognised at the Hawkesbury Council Australia Day Awards with the Community Organisation of the Year Award.

Blue Datto was founded by the Vassallo family following the death of 17-year-old Philip Vassallo in a crash in which both drivers were red ‘P’ platers. Phil, ‘the kid in the Blue Datto’, was a much-loved Hawkesbury teenager.

In 2015, Blue Datto launched its flagship Keeping Safe Program, a road safety education program targetting young drivers and passengers in school and community settings.

The program is an interactive analysis of travel safety risks and examines the influence of family, friends and the social environment on the choices young drivers make.

Blue Datto also provides other targetted programs and educational sessions for parents, teachers and local government.

The Keeping Safe Program has been delivered to Bede Polding College, Hawkesbury High School, Richmond High School and Colo High School.

Blue Datto has also hosted road safety programs further afield in Sydney, Western Sydney, Central Coast, North Coast, Central West, the Hunter region, the Albury/Wodonga region and Wagga Wagga, reaching 7500 students across 50 schools.

Mrs Vassallo said since the creation of Blue Datto, Hawkesbury fatalities involving 17 to 25-year-olds have reduced from 47 per cent of total road fatalities to zero.

Blue Datto is a not-for-profit program, and welcomes donations from the community. To donate, host a fundraiser or enquire about road safety programs, email

Blue Datto will be hosting a stand at this year’s Hawkesbury Show at the Hawkesbury Showground from Friday, 20 to Sunday, 22 April.