Roadset, a free online road safety educational tool aimed at pre-driving teenagers, enjoyed its ACT launch yesterday at St Edmunds College, Canberra.
To be delivered flexibly through schools, Roadset will initially roll out through 19 schools across Canberra; it was developed by the Australian Road Safety Foundation with $2.1 million of Commonwealth Government funding.
Foundation founder and CEO, Russell White, said the driving force behind Roadset is the statistic that road trauma is the largest killer of young Australians aged between one and 14 and is second only to youth suicide in those aged 14-25 years.
“One of the key things for me was when I first read that statistic,” Mr White said, “to me that was a very shocking and surprising statistic and I really felt that we needed to do something more holistically about that.”
The Foundation believed it “absolutely essential” to provide educational intervention to try and address those statistics and also better prepare young people to be road users once they start to drive.
“A lot of people when they think of fatalities and think of road trauma, they often just think of drivers,” Mr White said. “In actual fact, it’s vulnerable road users who made up half of that fatality rate.
“There’s a lot of space in that pre-driving age, so it’s looking at things like distraction, how to become a better passenger, how to become a better pedestrian or a cyclist.”
According to the Australian Road Deaths database, the number of road deaths in the preceding 12 months to April 2021 in the 0-16 age bracket was 67.
For the 2020 calendar year, there were 55 deaths in the 0-16 age bracket, and 47 in 2019.
“If we look at the new targets that Australia’s got in terms of reducing road trauma, we’ve got an enormous amount of work to be done, and clearly education needs to play a critical role in that,” Mr White said.
Commonwealth Senator for the ACT, Zed Seselja, said the youth road death statistics remind us “how important it is that we have a number of strategies for preparing people to be safe on our roads”.
“When I saw that statistic … I was shocked by it, I was not aware of that, and I think most Australians would be surprised by that.
“It is a free program, so my message to teachers, principals, parents and others involved in our schools is to get behind it, take this program up, there’s nothing to lose there.”
Head of health and physical education at St Edmunds College Canberra, Joel Richardson, said he felt it was important to sign up for the program as it equips students to “understand the road and use it in a safe way”.
“Having something interactive is really important,” he said.
“We find our boys do best when they have ownership of their learning … and this being a program that allows them to go through at their own pace and scaffold their learning to suit their needs, allows them to do it.”
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