A sobering dose of road safety reality was shared with Year 10 students from Childers who attended a Rotary Youth Driver Awareness (RYDA) course this week.
Around 60 Year 10 students from Isis High joined on Tuesday with 150 students from schools at Maryborough and Hervey Bay to experience RYDA, which promotes driver road safety and awareness.
Rotarian Lloyd Maddern who oversees RYDA on behalf of Maryborough City Rotary said the week long program was expected to attract between 1000 and 1400 Year 10 students.
“As COVID caused the cancellation of the event last year we also held an additional RYDA in June which resulted in excess of 800 students attending.
“The program of five hours duration caters to Year 10’s basically because they are at the cusp of becoming learner drivers. Upwards of 20 schools across the region are involved in RYDA.
“The RYDA course is presented with the co-operation of Queensland Transport, Main Roads, Police, Driving Instructors, a local transport company, volunteers and families with direct experience with traffic orientated tragedies,” he said.
RYDA sole youth focussed road safety program
Lloyd said the program was delivered across a number of workshops which canvassed topics such as driver fatigue, speed and stopping, road conditions from the seat of a semi, crash investigation process and the mental approach to driving.
“RYDA is the only national road safety program for youth in Australia,” he said.
“The course supports the development of social resilience and develops skills for anticipating and managing risk.”
Don Grant, a Childers Rotarian who volunteered at the day, said the workshops were confronting and at times quite brutal in their real-life scenarios.
“Listening to a retired police officer who, during 20 years as a crash investigator, had attended hundreds of fatal road accidents, light aircraft crashes and some murders provided a graphic illustration of the loss to families and friends and the lasting impacts on the investigator,” he said.
“I think it shocked some of the students when he pointed out that of the 40 young people attending his workshop, statistics indicate that at least four would be dead from a road accident before age 25.
“Likewise a video of family and close friends speaking candidly about the loss of their teenage daughter and friend, an inexperienced driver who died in an accident after losing control of her vehicle, was emotionally wrenching. It highlighted just how road tragedies can affect anyone at any time,” he said.
“I think the messages regarding road awareness, good choices, driving to your limitations and personal and passenger safety were constantly reinforced at each workshop.”
RYDA suprises with view from semi driver’s seat
Don said one of the very useful scenarios involved the use of local transport semi trailer to demonstrate the road environment from the perspective of a driver.
“Students sit in the driver’s seat to see what a driver sees or cannot see. I think it created a new appreciation for the added pressures drivers of heavy vehicles face in their work,” he said.
“I think the speed and stopping distances demonstration presented by local Police officers also surprised many students. Estimating the stopping distances at a variety of speeds was an intriguing test for students.”
Lloyd Maddern said the week-long program which is presented cost-free to participants has a budget of around $35,000.
“Due to the great sponsorship we receive the cost to Rotary is confined to our volunteer hours to organise and run the RYDA program. It’s our intention to remain behind the program in its current format as long as those funding sources prevail.”
“It is a marvellous training and learning opportunity for young people who are about to emerge as road users.
“If this can prevent accidents or serious injury then the course has achieved its aim.”