It’s very sad turning on the news in the evening, or even listening to the news on the radio this year without hearing about another fatality on our roads. As of today (23rd March, 2019), the road toll is 75. That’s a 47% jump on last year, and we’re not quite three months in. It’s very scary!
What can we do to reduce this number? The cold hard truth? We can’t eliminate what goes on in a young one’s brain. It is a well known fact that a person’s brain does not stop fully developing until they reach about the age of 25. Heaven knows, I have plenty of friends whose young adults have their licence and they are all confident, safe drivers. But, unfortunately there are going to be a minority who think it’s fun to hoon, drag, speed, or whatever you want to call it. Yes, the hoon laws of confiscating their cars which became law back in July, 2006 does have some deterrent, but that doesn’t seem to stop them. Even with tight laws around roadworthy’s for example, some kids will go and buy a cheap old Commodore or Ford and thrash the jeepers out of it, just for the thrill.
The other side of this road toll is the silent, forgotten victims who have been severely injured and/or maimed by these idiots! (Sorry, that’s the only word I can use to describe them). TAC statistics show that for a period of six months, from 1st January, 2018 to July, 2018, young people aged 18-25 accounted for road accident victims that survived. These stats include:
The longer impact on these is the rehab stays which can take sometimes more than a year. In some cases, the injuries can be permanent and affect everyone around them. I’ve seen the affects this can have on loved ones through my road trauma program. It is just heartbreaking.
I think education is the key. Once they get to the age of 16, they do their 120 hours and sit their drive test – sometimes without one professional lesson. There are some merits around defensive driving courses. My own eldest daughter received this gift for her 18th birthday and went along a few months after that to complete it. She came home with a smile from ear to ear and 18 months later, still remembers everything she was taught from that fun day at Sandown.
Another important educational aspect is the emergence of the Road Smart program now being delivered into high schools. Every year 10 student throughout Victoria will be given the opportunity to do this program with facilitators to discuss road safety and once the classroom component is finished, they will either attend an off road facility to gain some experience in driving (even if a learner’s permit is not held yet). Or if they don’t attend the facility, every student is entitled to a free government funded lesson. Please ensure this is taken up. A FREE LESSON is there for the taking with me. You can also gain another free lesson with myself from www.keys2drive.com.au.
So, whilst none of us have the answers, let’s get the discussion going with our children around the dinner table. It doesn’t have to be around death and disablement, but start the discussion now whilst they’re still young enough to be educated on the subject. Got a question or any concerns? Make contact. I don’t presume to know everything about this subject, but am happy to listen and do the research for you.
Until next time, Sarah