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Over 300 people are killed on Victorian roads each year with nearly one third of these in the 18-25 age group yet they represent only 15 percent of the population.  In addition young drivers 18 to 20 are three times more likely to be involved in a crash than drivers aged over 20.  Road safety research has shown that increased supervised on-road driving experience for learner drivers, and classroom type learning about vehicle behaviour, risk assessment and hazard perception are likely to make the most effective and lasting contributions to road safety. However, research evidence also shows that off-road driver training and especially using skidpans contributes little to reductions in crash risk among young drivers.  In fact studies have shown that these courses can have a counter-intuitive effect in increasing crash risk by instilling a false sense of confidence in some drivers. 

A number of Rotary Clubs are involved in various programs aimed at improving road safety or working with other organisations like RYDA, Motorvate and Murcotts Driving Centre to deliver programs.  There are a wide range of training programs being promoted for young drivers and it is very important that Rotary Clubs think carefully about the effectiveness of any programs they pursue.  The attachment below provides a recent evaluation of driver training as a road safety measure.  I recommend that you read this and please contact me if you would like advice on any programs or to discuss any matters in this note. 

The issue of road safety is more than safer drivers.  There is a need for safer drivers in safer cars on safer roads.  Many crashes occur when ordinary people make everyday human mistakes.  Improved safety of roads and roadsides, improvements in driver behaviour, and adoption of vehicle safety and new technology are needed to reduce the road toll.  Governments are accountable for improving safety on our roads and for the regulations governing driver licensing and vehicle standards.  But YOU can help improve the communities understanding of road safety and make a real difference to learner drivers.

How can you be involved?

Community engagement, participation and support are key to the success of road safety programs.  There are three key proven programs where Rotary can be actively involved in helping to improve safety on our roads.

1. Sponsor your local secondary schools to hold a Fit to Drive interactive workshop for Year 11 students.  The workshop includes facilitated small group discussion activities around risk taking and young driver safety.  For details contact the regional DEECD Senior Program Officer (TSE) www.education.vic.gov.au/studentlearning/programs/traffic/proflearn.htm

2. Volunteer as a driving mentor for a learner driver who doesn't have access to a supervising driver.  L2P is a driver mentor program coordinated by VicRoads and run by local councils.  It involves matching community volunteers (experienced drivers) with young learners so that they can achieve the required 120 hours of supervised driving practice.  For more information in becoming a L2P volunteer, call 1300 360 745.

3. Spread the word about in-car safety technologies.  Join the RACV Between Friends campaign. Find out more about the latest in-car safety technologies and help spread the word about how they can save lives.   For details visit racv.com.au/roadsafety  or email publicpolicyadmin@racv.com.au 

The other programs which some Clubs have been involved with are shown below with a brief statement from their websites and reference to where you can find further material is included.  I suggest that in considering these programs you please read the information provided in this note and feel free to contact me if you wish to discuss.

RYDA Australia

The RYDA Program is a road safety education program aimed at reducing death and injury amongst young people on Australian roads.  The Program targets 16 to 17 year olds and focuses on attitude and awareness with the aim of helping young adults become better people on the road.  It is a one-day event held at a non-school site which co-ordinates the efforts of local road safety experts, driving instructors, the Police, recovering survivors of road crashes, drug and alcohol educators and financial services personal.

For details visit www.ryda.org.au


Motorvate Young Driver Program

The Motorvate Young Driver Program triggers a re-assessment of high confidence levels, so drivers are therefore less likely to indulge in risk-taking and essential knowledge so that inexperienced drivers have a better chance of surviving emergency situations.  The Program also includes fuel efficiency strategies that are an ideal fit with safe driving.  With today's increasing fuel prices, a good way to motivate young drivers to drive slowly, smoothly and safely is to hit them in the hip pocket nerve - they are even more likely to drive more safely when there are multiple motivations for doing so!

For details visit www.mindovermotor.com.au

Brian Negus
Rotary District 9810
Road Safety Liaison Officer

Office:  (03) 9703 6103
Mobile:  0419 545 816
Email:    brian_negus@racv.com.au