Statistics released recently by the Federal Government show a rise in road deaths across the country, with an overall increase of 7.5 per cent in the past year.
The report, released by the Federal Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, shows the Australian death toll for 2016 standing at 1295.
Worryingly, the death toll for road users over the age of 65 has increased at an alarming rate, now accounting for 20.5 per cent of all deaths on the road.
However, Road Safety Education Ltd, providers of the RYDA program, is encouraged to observe that the number of deaths in the 17 to 25 age group has had the fastest rate of decrease in recent years, down 38 per cent between 2008 and 2015.
Even so, the loss of 79 young people aged 17 to 25 on NSW roads in 2016, up 44 per cent on the previous year, is a stark reminder that more needs to be done to reduce the tragedy of youth road trauma.
Road Safety Education Ltd chief executive officer Terry Birss said the figures were a national tragedy.
‘‘It is not a fair go to our young people to expose them to these risks without the best possible road safety education — education which complies with government guidelines should be essential for all high school students before they are handed the keys to the car,’’ Mr Birss said.
‘‘As Australia’s leading youth road safety educator, we call on governments to support early intervention education but only where programs comply with government guidelines, such as RYDA,’’ he said.
‘‘RSE recognise and support government initiatives that have seen increased log book hours for learner drivers.
‘‘Young drivers need this extra time to develop higher order thinking. This goes well beyond vehicle maneuvering — giving them time to hone their high order cognitive skills for which RYDA is designed to be a catalyst.
‘‘Skills that when driving will assist with hazard and risk perception, moderate tasks based on ability, improved attention, control and resisting distraction, whilst appropriately allocating attention between tasks and situational awareness,’’ Mr Birss said.
RYDA is also the only national road safety educator which complies with government guidelines including:
●Small interactive working groups.
●Focus on attitude and awareness.
●A take-home personal road safety plan.
●No graphic images designed to shock.
RYDA is a community-based initiative co-ordinated through local Rotary clubs to help make our roads safer.
●See www.rse.org.au for more information.