What is happening to our road toll?
After a horror weekend on NZ roads not for profit Road Safety Education Limited (RSE) supports the policepledge to
drivers to take more responsibility on the country's roads.
Nine people died between Friday and the early hours of Monday morning, bringing the road toll to 292 for 2017, up 41 on
the same time last year.
At least 10 others have been injured or seriously injured during the same period. Assistant Commissioner Road Policing,
Sandra Venables says this weekend's fatalities will have left families devastated up and down the country.
"Every death is reported as a number, but each number has a face, a name and a family. They leave behind loved ones
whose lives have been changed forever. We cannot continue to tolerate the loss." (Source: NZ Herald 9 October 2017)
RSE is committed to reducing trauma on our roads nationally by educating young people in senior high school, through its
flagship programme, RYDA. Statistics tell us that the most dangerous time for any young road user is in the first six to 12 months of being a solo
driver. Getting behind the wheel of a car as a young driver or passenger is said to be among the most dangerous things a
person will do in their entire life.
“Young people continue to be over represented in deaths and injuries on our roads – it is a national tragedy that over
80 young people aged 15-25 died on our roads last year.
For each one of these fatalities approximately 10 more suffer life changing situations such as brain and spinal
injuries", said RSE Programme Manager, Maria Lovelock. “What is upsetting is that for the last three years we have seen
an upward trend in our road toll. We need to do more to turn this around especially as there is more pressure on schools
to bring in licensing for their students. It is critical that if we increase the number of young people on the roads
driving we also increase the funding to support these young people to be safer better drivers.
“There are a number of reasons, some outside a young driver’s control, why they are at such high-risk. Their brains are
still developing, they exhibit sensation-seeking behaviour, they are greatly influenced by peer pressure, they often
drive less road-worthy cars, can be sleepy and often drive at night or for 'fun.' Most importantly, they lack experience
in the broad range of driving situations and road conditions. It's up to us as a community to bridge that gap of
inexperience and underdevelopment with as many tools as we can for better planning and decision making. That's what the RYDAprogramme is all about."
RYDA focusses on cognition development, building and increasing social competency and resilience and motivating low risk
behaviour. Delivered as a school excursion, RYDA provides a unique experience that does not come from driving lessons or
books. It is designed to support the school curriculum, providing teachers with an important tool to enhance their
classroom lessons. The overarching aim of RYDA is to prepare young people for solo driving and safer passenger
behaviour. Underlying the programme goal is a broader strategy of supporting and strengthening road safety culture with
a focus on the social obligations of being a road user. RYDA not only helps students develop safety strategies, it
provides the motivation to put them to use.
More than half of students attending RYDA are already driving, either as learners under supervision, or have just begun
unsupervised driving. RYDA teaches drivers how to manage distractions, gives them an understanding and acceptance of the
rules of the road and the laws of physics, helps them plan their journey and gives them strategies to avoid risk. It
teaches passengers how to contribute positively to the car's environment and speak up if they are uncomfortable. This
year over 6300 students attended RYDA from around the country. “We believe this programme is contributing to saving
young people’s lives on the roads.” says Lovelock “We need to be doing more as a country to expand programmes like this
Road Safety Education Limited is a not for profit organisation that runs best practice road safety programmes for young
people through NZ and Australia. To date nearly 50,000 young people have attended RYDA in New Zealand. For more
information please visit -