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Northland Road Safety Champion – Kendall Hucker

Kendall Hucker is determined to make a difference to rural road safety.

That’s why the Year 12 Tauraroa Area School student is starting a Kaitiaki o Ara/SADD (Students Against Dangerous Driving) group at the school – 20 years after her Mum did the same!

And she wants her local community on board too, saying road safety and good driving habits are everybody’s responsibility.

Left-Right: Tauraroa Area School's Kendall Hucker and Lily Johns prepare to mark Northland Road Safety Week for 2024 (Photo supplied)

After attending the three-day SADD conference in the recent school holidays, Kendall was inspired to take a lead on road safety and has already assembled a team of school mates which includes Lily Johns (Co-Leader) and Madi Johnston (Tauraroa Wellbeing Prefect) to lead the charge. More friends will soon join the group.

“At the conference I saw how the student National Leaders were doing their projects in their areas and saw how much we would be able to change our small and close-knit community. And by having our community be involved in our group also, that could provide a real boost to what we want to do,” says Kendall.

“We are working on some ideas to promote road safety and better driver habits. Quite a few of the Year 12 and 13 students drive to school and we want them to be safe and we hope our work will stop them being in crashes by doing things as simple as leaving their phones alone while driving.

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“Being aware of their surroundings is also really important because there are lots of potholes and sharp corners in Maungakaramea, so we want people adopting good driving habits from the start. We also have concerns about safety at nearby rail crossings so plan to do some work around promoting safety there as well because the signs that are there are very hard to see,” says Kendall.

Primary students at Tauraroa are also being encouraged to enter the Bike Northland competition to decorate a cycle helmet, while Kendall is contemplating a challenge to all students at the school to decorate a door to highlight road safety!

SADD is a student-led charity with the collective goal of preventing loss on New Zealand roads and Kerry Campbell, Programme Delivery Lead for the Upper North Island, is pleased Kendall has stepped up to raise awareness.

Kerry and the team at SADD are focussed on empowering young people to make safer and better choices on the road, while also preventing loss on New Zealand roads.

“What Kendall, Lily and Madi are doing is taking on leadership in a rural area. We need people like them to take the road safety conversation home to their families and everybody in the community,” says Kerry.

The SADD team provide guidance and support using best practice, evidence based, road safety education approaches to influence their peers and wider community to positively promote safe road user behaviours.

“We encourage whole community approaches to bring about positive, lifelong road user behaviours and reduce the incidence and severity of harm caused by road trauma,” says Kerry.

SADD offers youth-centred leadership development and behaviour changing opportunities within a road safety context and an emphasis is on good decision making and societal contribution.

SADD also provides opportunities for students to work collaboratively and build relationships with road safety partners and community groups to develop solutions to achieve our collective goals of reducing harm on our roads and improved wellbeing outcomes for our rangatahi, says Kerry.

SADD groups are also taking route at Whangārei Girls’ High School and Pompallier Catholic College.

To register for 2024 Road Safety Heroes relay go to https://forms.gle/5FWNwys5ftsVeQ2NA and to find out more about Road Safety Week 2024 (including downloading educational packs), check out https://www.roadsafetyweek.org.nz/

In the days leading up to the Road Safety Week Heroes relay, child restraint workshops will be held in locations around Whangārei, with qualified technicians on hand to answer questions and ensure car sets are installed correctly. Workshop dates and locations will be updated at https://www.facebook.com/nrsnrcnz

Meantime, Northland Road Safety Trust wants more motorists to pay more attention to the concept of RIDS (Restraints, Impairment, Distraction, Speed). Always wear seatbelts and ensure children are properly restrained at all times, don’t drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, don’t be distracted by phones, drive to the conditions and do not speed.

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