Media Release – It’s National Road Safety Week and We Need to Drive So Others Survive
Provided by Road Safety Education Limited
10 Julius Avenue, North Ryde NSW 2113
Contact: [email protected]
Tel: 0434 678 856
National Road Safety Week will be held right around Australia this week – from the 14th to the 21st May – with the heartfelt theme – ‘Drive So Others Survive.’ This week is a great time for all Australians to reflect on what they can do to support our young drivers as they are the next generation of drivers on our roads. If all Australians could make a pledge to be more patient and supportive of our young people as they learn to drive this year, this would be a great way to ‘Drive So Others Survive.’
Young Australians continue to be over-represented in road trauma statistics with 17-25-year-olds making up 10% of the population but representing 22% of all driver and passenger fatalities. While this statistic is a lot better than 10 years ago, this still means that 230 young people died on our roads last year and approximately 10 times that number were seriously injured.
Road Safety Education Limited’s (RSE) RYDA program works to give young people the tools they need to make safe choices but a recent survey of their students highlighted that other drivers often make that challenging. Eighty-seven per cent of students reported that while displaying their L plates they have experienced negative behaviour from drivers including tailgating (70%), aggressive overtaking (66%), road rage (29%), honking horns (46%) and flashing lights (26%). One student even reported that another driver got out of their car and pointed aggressively at them.
National Road Safety Week is supported by governments, individuals, charities and businesses across Australia and New Zealand including RSE and the RYDA program. Road trauma is one of the biggest causes of death for Australians aged under 25. The statistics show however, that this number, while still too high, is moving in the right direction. In the ten years leading up to the first RYDA program in 2001, an average of 527 young people aged 17-25 were dying on Australian roads every year. In the 10 years leading to 2022, that number has fallen by 56%.
While the statistic has reduced, until the number of young lives lost on our roads becomes zero, more needs to be done as each year a new cohort of young people start to drive. Initiatives such as best practice road safety education, better roads, safer vehicles, better enforcement and graduated licensing schemes are all helping to keep these numbers falling.
As a founding Principal Partner of National Road Safety Week, RSE works with governments, corporate partners and communities to help reduce youth road trauma. RSE holds RYDA workshops with high schools and is a professionally-developed education program about road safety for young drivers and passengers.
So far, over 735,000 students have completed the RYDA program in Australia and New Zealand
To date, more than 735,000 students have completed the RYDA program in high schools throughout Australia and New Zealand. This is all made possible with support from RSE’s corporate partners including BOC, Toyota Australia, Bridgestone and Boral Limited, as well as support from our community partner, Rotary. RSE also receives greatly valued funding from various Government bodies to help towards delivery costs and keeping the program affordable for schools.
As Terry Birss, RSE’s CEO & Managing Director says: “We believe the RYDA program is contributing to saving young people’s lives on the roads. We applaud schools for committing to this educational experience for their students.”
“Educating young people and equipping them with the tools they need to make good choices on the road is essential to saving lives,” adds Mr Birss. “It is not enough to teach a young person the skill of controlling and manoeuvring a vehicle. We must balance this with the skill of critical thinking and an appreciation for safety on the road. It would be greatly appreciated if the experienced drivers in Australia could embrace the National Road Safety Week theme of Drive So Others Survive by endeavouring to be more patient and supportive of our young drivers,’” Mr Birss says.
The RYDA program teaches the skills young drivers need
Young drivers are more likely to suffer injury or death in their first years of driving unsupervised. This risk of crashing diminishes with experience and the development of decision-making skills to recognise risky situations and make safe choices.
The RYDA program frontloads all of these skills and drives home the message about what can happen if these safe choices aren’t made. As well, the program teaches passengers how to contribute positively to the car’s environment and how to speak up if they’re uncomfortable.
Below are some comments from teachers, students and their parents about how RYDA has made an impact:
“This road safety excursion was by far one of the best excursions I have ever been to. I have learned so much and found today so interesting that I couldn’t wait to tell my family all that I learned.”
“It allowed me to do some introspection into my own habits and personality traits, and come out the other side with strategies on how to keep myself and others safe both behind the wheel and passengers in the car.”
“After my son came along to RYDA he started to drive with more respect for my car, his life, the safety of his passengers and the road. I really felt that his attitude as a driver AND as a passenger had changed. I thank you and your team for what you offer these students.”
“The presenters were of a very high quality and the feedback from the students during our debrief back at school was extremely encouraging. Nothing beats real life education and that was exactly what the students participated in today.”
About Road Safety Education Limited: is a not-for-profit organisation which runs best practice road safety programs for young people through Australia and New Zealand. Every year, tens of thousands of young people participate in their RYDA program which aims to change the way they think and act on the roads, both as drivers and passengers. To date, over 735,000 young people have attended RYDA. For more information, visit www.rse.org.au or email to [email protected].