It’s Road Safety Week in NZ and the Statistics Show an Increase in Youth Road Deaths

Media Release – It’s Road Safety Week in NZ and the Statistics Show an Increase in Youth Road Deaths

Provided by Road Safety Education Limited

PO Box 12876, Penrose, Auckland 1642

Contact: [email protected]

Tel: 021 545 030

It’s Road Safety Week this week – from the 15th to the 21st May – with the heartfelt theme: ‘Be a Road Safety Hero.’ This week is a great time for all New Zealanders to reflect on what they can do to support our young drivers as they are the next generation of drivers on our roads. Young people are still overrepresented in our road trauma statistics and a recent survey of Learner drivers by Road Safety Education Limited (RSE) revealed that 87% experienced negative behaviour from other drivers.

The statistics on the New Zealand Ministry of Transport’s website show that as at 10th April 2023, in 2022 there were 377 fatalities from 340 crashes in New Zealand and this is 59 more fatalities than in 2021. Of these 377 fatalities, 127 were from the younger 15-30-year-old age group which is 25 more than 2021 and over 33% of the total. These statistics show that young people are over-represented in the number of fatalities for road users in New Zealand. This means more road safety education is needed, better improvements to our roads, safer vehicles and better enforcement if we’re to reduce these numbers.

Road Safety Education Limited (RSE) delivers a RYDA programme which 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.

As you can see from the graph above from the Ministry of Transport’s website, the numbers of fatalities decreased during lockdown in 2019, 2020 and 2021 but increased when lockdown ended.

RSE asks all New Zealanders to 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 ‘Be a Road Safety Hero.’

RSE works with the government, corporate partners and communities to help bring change to youth road trauma. They hold RYDA workshops with high schools and is a professionally-developed education programme about road safety for young drivers and passengers. They are also the secretariat of the Yellow Ribbon Road Safety Alliance

So far, over 95,000 students have completed the RYDA programme in New Zealand

To date, more than 95,000 students have completed the RYDA programme in high schools throughout New Zealand. This is all made possible with support from RSE’s corporate sponsors including BOC, New Zealand Steel, Bridgestone, VTNZ and Toyota as well as support from our community partner, Rotary through their clubs throughout New Zealand. RSE also receives greatly valued funding from various grants and trusts to help towards delivery costs and keeping the programme affordable for schools.

As Maria Lovelock, General Manager New Zealand for RSE says: “Now, more than ever, we need to be investing time into our young people and the next generation of drivers and their passengers, to ensure they can be safer road users and ultimately, they don’t miss out on the future they’re looking forward to.”

“We believe the RYDA programme is contributing to saving young people’s lives on the roads. We applaud schools for committing to this educational workshop for their students,” she adds. “It would be greatly appreciated if the experienced drivers in New Zealand could endeavour to be more patient and supportive of our young drivers. This way, they’ll be the ‘Road Safety Heroes’ we need.”

Below are some comments from teachers, students and their parents about the RYDA programme:

“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.”

“It was fun with the roleplaying and acting, but it really put in perspective the stress drivers would be put under when someone could be yelling, crying, etc. It made me feel more mindful of how I act as a passenger and can support the driver of the vehicle.”

About Road Safety Education: a not-for-profit organisation which runs best practice road safety programmes for young people throughout New Zealand and Australia. Every year over 50,000 young people attend a full-day interactive programme which aims to change the way they think and act on the roads, both as drivers and passengers. To date over 95,000 young people have attended RYDA in New Zealand and 735,000 young people have attended RYDA in Australia. For more information, visit or email to [email protected]