The impact of road trauma remains all-to-real in our community.
Encouragingly, the number of lives lost on our roads continues to fall each year, but every life lost is tragic. Educating drivers in their early years can be a key factor in reducing the toll over time, and our coast Rotary clubs are passionate as ever about taking some action.
The combined Rotary Clubs of Noosa, Noosa Heads, Noosa Daybreak and Cooroy joined forces again last week, assisting in taking 138 St. Teresa’s Catholic College students through the RYDA (Rotary Youth Driver Awareness) Program at The House with No Steps at Fellowship Drive, Doonan.
The program sees students taking one day out of school, to receive practical road safety information targeting attitude and awareness of young drivers and their passengers.
RYDA targets 16-18-year-old students and includes six interactive sessions delivered to small student groups covering topics such as hazards and distractions, speed and stopping distance, vehicle safety, fatigue and experiences of a crash survivor. RYDA Committee Chairman, Geoff Bone said if even one life can be saved from this training then it’s all worthwhile.
“Since 2009, the combined Rotary clubs in our area have held 54 program days. Year 11 students from eight regional high schools and colleges have attended. This year’s aim is to reach a total of 5,000 for the 10 years we have been running the program,” Mr Bone shared.
Attendance by local school students at RYDA events increases each year. Last year 81% of all enrolled year 11 students completed the program. This is well in line with the national average. However, there is a lot more work to do as the aim is to have every senior student throughout the Noosa and surrounding areas fully aware of their responsibilities when driving a vehicle on our busy roads.
“We must impress on all parents the importance of the program.” Mr Bone said. “This full day driver awareness program is free so there is no reason why every enrolled student can’t attend.”
In the bigger picture, since its inauguration some 19 years ago, over 550,000 students from more than 650 schools have participated in RYDA Australia-wide.
For its part, the Tewantin Noosa Community Bank branch of Bendigo Bank stepped up again in partnership with its Cooroy, Pomona and Marcoola branches in collective support of RYDA committing a further $3,000 to the program in 2019. This financial backing assists Rotary purchasing the latest equipment that guarantees attention grabbing presentations.
Tewantin Noosa branch manager, Linda Oliver said the Community Banks started supporting the RYDA program eight years ago and remains fervent in its support.
“This program provides some of the most important lessons students can have in their senior schooling years. Our Community Bank branches continue to believe in RYDA, and our Tewantin Noosa branch is particularly proud to provide this sponsorship RYDA Noosa. It also provides us with another opportunity to partner with Rotary and highlight the great work they do in our community,” Linda said.
To learn more about the RYDA program, go to www.rotarynoosaheads.org.au/RYDA. or contact Geoff on 0427 708 928 or Tess on 0407 377 210. Rotary extends its thanks to Queensland Government Community Road Safety and to their many local supporters.
First Aid services were provided by Noosa Surf Club and Tewantin Noosa RSL provided their community bus free of charge. Also, the local SES do their part in providing traffic control on Fellowship Drive while students learn how speeding causes crashes and lost lives.