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Local students learn road skills

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Year 10 students at the RYDA program.

Year 10 students from a number of local schools have been given the opportunity to prepare themselves for situations they may face on the road at Rotary Youth Driver Awareness sessions.

The students were this week given the opportunity to hear from a number of presenters, learning everything from driving around trucks to stopping times and distances and hearing firsthand from a crash victim.

While the program had previously been held in Maryborough, this was the first time it had been hosted in Bundaberg, as an initiative that Rotary and the local police were looking forward to continuing.

Senior Constable Brittany Duncan said with the Bundaberg Wide Bay region having the highest fatality rate last year, programs like RYDA were an opportunity for young drivers to develop their road skills and understand the risks of being behind the wheel.

“Sadly, last year Bundaberg and Wide Bay had the highest fatalities in the state,” she said.

“Being in the crime prevention unit, I did some research on how we can manage the fatalities and I stumbled across this program, reached out to Rotary’s Matt Griffiths and he came on board and here we are after a year of planning.

“So far the feedback has been very positive from the schools that have attended.”

Brittany said they looked forward to seeing the program continue into the future, with the community support greatly appreciated.

“We want this program to continue, but we will need sponsorship for next year as road safety education helped us this year to get the program running,” she said.

“We are very lucky to have had Bundaberg Regional Council allow us to use the Bundaberg Recreational Precinct free of charge for the week, and De Gunst trucks for lending us a truck to use at one of the stations.

“We really want to keep this program running as it is great for the students and if we can save just one life out of it, then it is a win.”

RYDA students
Mayor Jack Dempsey celebrates RYDA with program organisers.

RYDA Day Manager and Rotary member Matt Griffiths said the idea was to capture all of the year 10 students and teach them road skills, driver awareness and safety, ensuring they realised the choices they made on the road do not just impact them, but others as well.

“One crash affects so many different people,” Matt said.

“It affects you, your family, the people who have to pick you up off the road and those who help with rehabilitation to name a few.

“It is a very important program to teach students road skills and I am glad we are able to bring something like this to Bundaberg.”

Matt said the sessions covered a diverse range of topics with everything coming back to one common theme.

“The sessions include everything from a drive so you can survive session to one on different speeds and their stopping distances and then hearing from a road accident survivor who is in a wheelchair,” he said.

“We cover a lot of different areas, but they all link back to one common theme about choices.”

RYDA is described as more than a program, it is partnership which supports teachers on the journey as they teach students road skills, and also help them to understand they need to see themselves as active, responsible road citizens.

You can find to more about RYDA here.

Other stories: Drivers urged to change behaviour on the road

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