The ABC’s BTN High program asked Road Safety Education Limited (RSE) to comment for an episode called Curbing Australia’s Road Toll. John Elliott, Head of Marketing & Program Delivery at RSE, talked with BTN High’s reporter Justina Ward, about what we offer young people in our RYDA Road Safety program and how this can contribute to lowering Australia’s road toll.

The episode, which was published on the 14th June, starts out with Justina having a driving lesson. She then says it’s important that we all learn to drive as safely as possible because: “There’s a lot to learn when getting behind the wheel for the first time, and a lot of it has to do with safety – and there’s a pretty good reason for that. Each year, around 1,200 people die on Australian roads and about 40,000 are injured.”

Justina asks John from RSE: “So, what can we do about it and why are crashes happening in the first place?

John gives Justina some of the reasons why young people are eight times more likely to crash when they’re on their restricted license, as well as providing some important information about seat belts. He says: “If you’re unrestrained in a car, you’re eight times more likely to be killed in a road crash and 20% of fatalities in Australia were people who weren’t wearing a seat belt.”

Then John points out that while it is important to make the roads safer, it’s also very important to educate everyone – but especially young people – about how to drive safely and even teach people how to be a safer passenger in a car.

One of the young people interviewed for the episode agrees, saying that more education could be a solution: “Maybe more education, like within schools as well, because like obviously, when you go through your driver’s test and things like that, it’s there, but then it’s not really much after that.”

This is exactly where RSE’s RYDA program comes in – helping to train young drivers and passengers so they can drive and travel more safely.

The reporter, Justina, adds that 17 to 25-year-olds are over-represented in fatal crashes. Phil, the driving teacher from the Royal Automobile Association (RAA) agrees saying:”Probationary drivers proportionately, get involved in more accidents than regular drivers.”

When asked what young drivers can do to improve their chances of being safe on the road and Phil said: “Don’t just do the minimum hours of driving. I know from experience that students who have done more than the 75 hour minimum are more competent in lane change situations, where they’re managing themselves in traffic – and that’s purely because of the time they’ve been on the road. They’ve experienced more things.”

John adds: “We need to do more to stop those bad decisions from happening in the first place. Not driving when we’re tired, not driving when we’re angry or super-excited – or any other mind state that might impact our decision making.”

“Making sure we put our seat belts on – all those sorts of things are where education of road users has become so important,” John says.

To find out more about the RYDA Road Safety program, visit Road Safety Education Limited here.