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50,000 students have attended road safety progamme

50,000 students have attended world class road safety programme.

Getting behind the wheel of a car as a young driver or passenger is said to be among the most dangerous things a person will do in their entire life.

Road Safety Education Limited, a not for profit organisation is committed to reducing trauma on our roads nationally by educating young people in senior high school, through its flagship programme RYDA. Statistics tell us that the most dangerous time for any young road user is in the first six to 12 months of being a solo driver. RYDA, which is celebrating its 10th year in New Zealand, is written and overseen by a world renowned advisory council made up of road safety experts and psychologists and designed to change the way young people think and act on our roads not only as drivers but also as passengers.

Next week from Monday March 13 to Thursday 16th senior high school students from the Nelson and Tasman area will attend RYDA - a potentially lifesaving road safety education programme. Nearly 1000 year 12 students will go through the programme from Waimea college, Nelson College, Nelson Girls College, Nayland College, Motueka High School, Abel Tasman Education trust and Youth Nelson.

Plus on Tuesday the 50,000th student will attend since the programme started 10 years ago and Road Safety Education will be presenting a special certificate to the Nelson College (the attending school that day) to mark this occasion. The RYDA programme is a community based initiative coordinated through local Rotary Clubs to help make our roads safer, with the generous support from corporate sponsors including BOC, NZ Steel, Bridgestone, BOSCH and the Alexander Group and in the Nelson area generous support from the Nelson City and Tasman District councils.

“Young people continue to be over represented in deaths and injuries on our roads – it is a national tragedy that over 80 young people aged 15-25 died on our roads last year.[1] For each one of these fatalities approximately 20 more suffer life changing situations such as brain and spinal injuries", said Road Safety Education Programme manager Maria Lovelock.

“There are a number of reasons, some outside a young driver’s control, why they are at such high risk. Their brains are still developing, they exhibit sensation-seeking behaviour, they are greatly influenced by peer pressure, they often drive less road-worthy cars, can be sleepy and often drive at night or for 'fun'. Most importantly, they lack experience in the broad range of driving situations and road conditions. It's up to us as a community to bridge that gap of inexperience and underdevelopment with as many tools as we can for better planning and decision making. That's what the RYDA programme is all about."

RYDA is not a driving course – it’s about attitude and awareness, providing our young road users with the knowledge and skills to make smart decisions stay safe on the road. The overarching aim of RYDA is to prepare young people for solo driving and safer passenger behaviour. Underlying the program goal is a broader strategy of supporting and strengthening road safety culture with a focus on the social obligations of being a road user.

More than half of students attending RYDA are already driving, either as learners under supervision, or have just begun unsupervised driving. The program aims to prepare all participants for solo driving by giving them tools to lower their risks. By tools we mean knowledge, attitudes and personalised strategies. The message at RYDA is clear - being safer as a driver or passenger depends on both developing experience and adopting the key risk-lowering strategies. This year nearly 7000 students will attend RYDA from around the country. “We believe this programme is contributing to saving young people’s lives on the roads.” says Lovelock “It is encouraging to see schools in the Nelson and Tasman area make this a priority and add it into their school calendar each year.”

Road Safety Education Limited is a not for profit organisation that runs best practice road safety programmes for young people through NZ and Australia. Every year over 50,000 young people attend their full day interactive programme which aims to change the way young people think and act on the roads, both as drivers and passengers. To date nearly 50,000 young people have attended RYDA in New Zealand. For more information please visit www.rse.org.nz

[1] https://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/road-deaths/toll.html

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