Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Times of Georgia
HomePoliticalProgramme Works To Put A Stop To Youth Road Trauma

Programme Works To Put A Stop To Youth Road Trauma


We see it in the news almost daily. Accidents, injuries
and deaths on our roads are a significant issue, one
exacerbated by an ever-increasing number of vehicles and the
many regional state highways and rural roads in our
region.

But for young people, there is an even greater
risk.

Getting behind the wheel of a car as a young
driver or being a young passenger with a novice driver is
said to be the most dangerous thing that a person will do in
their life.

There are many reasons for this. For young
drivers still learning, lack of experience and a frontal
cortex that is not yet fully developed leads to more risks
taken on the road.

Each year, male drivers in the
15–19-year age group are approximately eight times more
likely to crash than male drivers in the lowest risk age
group of 55–59 years, and female drivers aged 15–19 are
about six times more likely to crash than female drivers in
the lowest risk group of 45–49-year-olds.

Road
Safety Education (RSE) is a charity hoping to put a stop to
youth road trauma. Its RYDA programme has been running in
the Western Bay of Plenty since 2019, and is being rolled
out to over 500 Year 12 students across the region this
year.

RYDA features a highly engaging and memorable
workshop that provides students with the tools, habits and
motivation to take action and stay safe on our
roads.

The workshops are delivered by a range of
specialists, including New Zealand Police, and involve six
sessions as well as a suite of resources schools can use
both pre and post the workshops back in the classroom that
cover a broad range of road safety lessons.

From road
risk factors such as speed, following distance and
distractions, to car safety features, hazard perception, and
the role of personality and mind-state, all sessions are
interactive with role play, interviews, and group
work.

While RYDA isn’t a licensing programme, it works
well with them, and is designed for all students whether
they are driving yet or not.

The programme provides
education essential to supporting on-road driving practice.
It speaks with teens in their peer groups, helps them devise
strategies to mitigate the challenges they face, and
develops critical cognitive thinking as both drivers and
passengers to help with decision-making.

Feedback from
the programme shows students take a lot from the sessions.
One Mount Maunganui students says the personality test was
particularly eye-opening.

“The results were actually
quite surprising because the areas which I thought I was
good at like ‘knowing yourself’ actually ended up being my
lowest score. It was really eye-opening and especially to
see the things I thought I was bad at like ‘speaking up’ I
actually came out with a pretty good score.

“I know
I can use this session and this personality test for my
driving in the future because I’ll be able to work on my
weaknesses in driving, such as having more self control. So
although I do not have my Learners yet I will defintely
carry this information with me to help me be a better
driver.”

Maria Lovelock, Road Safety Education
National Manager, says the programme’s focus is solely on
road safety.

“We’re creating an experience that
will stick with these young people for the rest of their
lives. Students have a lot of fun as all the sessions are
interactive, and there’s also plenty of lightbulb moments
as they learn about the many facets that affect their
driving and safety on the roads.

“A lot of what we
do is all around that critical thinking and decision making,
getting students to understand things like how different
moods affect their driving, or how even talking hands-free
on the phone affects their peripheral vision.”

Maria
says there is currently a focus from several Government
departments to fast-track driver licensing while students
are still at school, in order to help young people access
work.

“While access to work and preventing isolation
are important factors to a young person’s overall
wellbeing, we are extremely concerned that pushing young
people through their driver licensing tests without teaching
them critical thinking, planning and resilience, or giving
them good strategies to stay safer on our roads, will
ultimately increase our road toll.

“It is crucial
that while schools encourage our young people to get their
license, RSE are alongside this to help students understand
their personal risk profile.”

With facilitators,
venue hire, workbooks, programme development, travel
expenses and more, the programme costs around $11,000 to run
for a day.

Road Safety Education applied for funding
from TECT to help cover operating costs to deliver the
programme to three schools in the Western Bay of
Plenty.

Maria says the $5,000 in TECT funding received
makes a huge difference.

“TECT’s funding is
incredibly important, we wouldn’t be able to run the
programme here without it. When we first piloted the
programme in Tauranga, the local Rotary Clubs funded it all.
They paid for the buses, venue, everything – but it
wasn’t sustainable.

“TECT’s funding helps us
keep the cost down for schools. It costs us $53 a head, and
schools here are paying about $10 a head.

“We really
appreciate that TECT sees the long-term value of what we are
doing here; it is young people being safer on the roads and
ultimately lives saved.”

To learn more about Road
Safety Education and the RYDA programme, visit https://rse.org.nz/.

 

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