Young drivers across New South Wales are to be the focus of ‘bstreetsmart’, a new on-road safety campaign.
Sydney’s Allphones Arena welcomed more than 22,000 NSW students hailing from 183 different schools from August 24-27 for an immersive, educational demonstration highlighting the importance of safe driving.
According to the National Roads and Motorists Association (NRMA), drivers aged 15-24-years have the highest number of road crash fatalities than any other age group. In addition, the NRMA also notes that drivers aged 17-20 are statistically three times more likely to be part of a serious crash than drivers 21 years and over.
“Getting your licence is one of those life-changing moments, giving young people freedom and independence, but with this independence comes a responsibility to be a safer road user,” said John Sidoti, Parliamentary Secretary for Roads.
“bstreetsmart aims to educate young people about staying safe on the road and increase their awareness of road safety risks and consequences.”
Getting NSW’s youngest drivers on board with road safety
Schools also had a chance to get involved with the event before it started, with the ‘bfilmed’ competition encouraging high school filmmakers to create a short movie demonstrating a safe driving message.
According to bstreetsmart, by participating in the pre-event activity, teachers would be able to better evaluate what their students took away from the function. The top five films were screened at the arena.
The arena also hosted an array of interactive displays, where students could see how airbags work, simulations of a crash site and talks from numerous industry representatives, as well as an audience with up and coming Formula 4 drivers.
Mr Sidoti stated that the government was doing everything it could to educate young drivers and get them involved in the all-important conversation about road safety.
“From our mandatory road safety education curriculum taught in schools across NSW to sponsoring important events like bstreetsmart, we’re helping young drivers and their passengers build their knowledge and experience to stay safe on our roads,” he said.
Having the right strategies in place a work in progress
NSW has one of the world’s most comprehensive licensing programs, designed to limit the chances of young drivers being involved in a serious crash. With the introduction of the further restrictions for new drivers in 2007, Mr Sidoti recalls that the state saw fatalities involving a P1 driver fall by 28 per cent over the course of three years.
“We’ve made significant gains in reducing the number of young drivers killed in road crashes, but they’re still over represented,” Mr Sidoti admits.
“What we know is that in 2013, young drivers were involved in almost a quarter of road fatalities despite holding only 14 per cent of licences.”
The state’s Safer Drivers Course is another measure intended to increase education and skill behind the wheel for those with a learner licence. Young drivers under the ages of 25 who have already completed 50 driving hours in their log book are eligible to participate, where they can gain important knowledge to handle various situations on the road.
Upon conclusion of the course, young drivers are also accredited with 20 hours for their log books to count towards their P1 licence.
The incidence of accidents involving younger drivers is the primary factor which makes green slips more expensive for younger drivers.