An organisation that hosts road safety workshops for school students has called on Australian drivers to show more patience with L platers when they’re out there on the road.
Sydney-based not-for-profit Road Safety Education Ltd (RSE) says its survey of high school student drivers found nearly nine in 10 had copped varying forms of negative behaviour from other drivers, while displaying their L plates.
This includes tailgating (70 per cent), aggressive overtaking (66 per cent), honking horns (46 per cent), “road rage” (29 per cent), and flashing lights (26 per cent). One student even reported that another driver got out of their car and pointed aggressively at them.
RSE says it’s asking people to be a little more patient and supportive of young drivers, as part of the ongoing Road Safety Week.
“It would be greatly appreciated if the experienced drivers in Australia could embrace the National Road Safety Week theme of ‘Drive So Others Survive’ by endeavouring to be more patient and supportive of our young drivers,” said RSE managing director and CEO Terry Birss.
Australians aged between 17 and 25 remain massively over-represented in road trauma data, accounting for around 10 per cent of the population but close to 20 per cent of driver and passenger fatalities.
In the 12 months ending in April, 224 people aged 17 to 25 died on Australian roads.
Road Safety Education Limited contends that while better roads, safer cars and graduated licensing schemes all have their role in cutting the road toll, so too does “best practice road safety education”.
RSE says its main education program, called RYDA, has been completed by upwards of 735,000 students in Australia and New Zealand.
Mr Birss said in the organisation’s 2022 report that it was now delivering workshops to up to 50,000 students each year (at 381 schools last year), needing a team of around 1000 people including 600 volunteers, 400 trained facilitators, and 20 staff.
The classroom and homework-based workshops teach students basics such as the impact of speeding or driving while on the phone, emergency braking theory, and how to share space with vulnerable road users. It involves academics and police in the creation and delivery.