THE is rate at which Australia’s youth is involved in serious or even fatal car accidents is alarming.
The 17 to 25 years age group accounts for 13 per cent of the population, however it also accounts for 22 per cent of deaths on roads nationwide, according to the Department of Infrastructure and Transport’s 2011 Road Deaths statistical summary.
But a small group of Rotarians is determined to make a difference.
The annual Rotary Youth Driver Awareness (RYDA) workshops for year 11 students across Orange is on this week at Towac Park, with over 450 students expected to attend the three-day workshop.
And, in the decade the program has been run in NSW, slowly but surely the message is sinking in.
“The trend has turned around,” Orange RYDA organising committee chairman Don Hayman said.
“It’s not dramatic and I’m not saying we’ve solved all of the problems but I think we can claim that slight decline in the level of accidents in the under 25-year-olds is a reflection of the confronting messages that are getting through to the year 11 kids.”
Six groups take part in six sessions throughout the day.
They include workshops called Plan B, Road Choices, Hazards, Distractions and Risks, Stopping Distances, My Wheels and Crash Survivor, with each mainly focusing on the benefits of road awareness and the impact poor decisions can have on not only drivers but family too.
Yesterday, James Sheahan Catholic School and Canobolas Rural Technology High School took part, while over the next two days Kinross, Yeoval High School, Orange High School and Molong Central School will attend.
The workshops have been running in Orange for six years, but originally started over a decade ago in Sydney’s north-west.
It’s now run statewide by Rotary clubs.
“The idea is to make kids safer drivers,” Mr Hayman said.
“Some of the information we’ve got back, one of the messages that gets through best of all is maintaining a safe distance behind the vehicle in front of you so you can stop ... the three-second gap. Rear-end accidents are one of the more common.
“Even if that’s the only message they take home that will help with safe driving.”