10 years of changing young driver behaviour through education
The ROADwhyz young driver education program is celebrating 10 years of delivering its powerful message to young drivers in the Hunter Region. Yesterday, the ROADwhyz team, who has presented the program to approximately 40,000 students so far, held their 10 year anniversary Choice and Consequence program at Francis Greenway High School at Beresfield. This was the 6th time the ROADwhyz team had visited the high school and Principal Jo Edwards said that it was
The ROADwhyz Choice & Consequence program is designed for young drivers (17 - 25 years) in Year 11 and 12 and is the only one of its kind in the area. The program, which is delivered by local Highway Patrol Officers, Ambulance Officers and a mother who lost two sons in a motor vehicle crash, prompts young people to consider the impact their behaviour has on others including, family, friends and the broader community.
Harmonie Attwill, Head Teacher PDHPE said "the program triggers emotion and empathy and helps students put themselves in other people's shoe's, while the students said that it was "hard hitting and real, but good and informative".
Young drivers represent one-quarter of all Australian road deaths, but make up only 10 - 15 per cent of the licensed driver population. The biggest killer among young drivers is speed and approximately 80 per cent of those killed are male. The ROADwhyz program aims to reduce road trauma among young drivers, by educating them about key road safety issues including speed, drink driving, driver distraction and other issues specific to young drivers, such as risk-taking behaviour and peer pressure. Harmonie Attwill said "this type of program really compliments the road safety education delivered in schools as part of the curriculum".
The ROADwhyz team are proud of the last 10 years and look forward to many more. Their key message is simple: 'It can happen to you; road safety is in your hands,. If you would like more information, please contact Michelle email at [email protected]
Newcastle Knights Junior Squad 16th August 2017
Hi Michelle and Team
Thank you so much for coming and delivering your talk to our junior players. This presentation is such a timely reminder for road safety and the consequences of not making the right choices on the road. I applaud you and your team for being able to present such an honest and tragic story that will make them think every time they get into a car.
Mathew Morriss - Welfare & Education Coordinator - Newcastle Knights
Feedback from participants who attended:
I felt it was a strong and powerful message which had me in tears within the first 5 minutes. I definitely believe this is a presentation that all young drivers and their parents should experience.
It was very moving because it was told from a mother's perspective which you never hear that and don't want to put your family through the tough situation.
ROADwhyz has been a feature on our Wellbeing Calendar now for many years, and we will continue to welcome Michelle and her team for years to come. The program which is presented is confronting for students and staff, and has a very personal touch to it which only Michelle can bring. It is all done with sensitivity, but with a clear purpose â€“ to have students make good choices when driving. The students are literally moved to tears in many cases, but we have staff on hand to support them. Having representatives from NSW Police and Ambulance on hand is an added bonus, as they have their own stories to tell.
Greg Robinson | Head of Students, Senior
Hunter Valley Grammar School
I just want to thank you for the amazing presentation last week. I was going to send this earlier but I wanted to speak to a few students after a couple days to see how they felt once the initial shock of the day had worn off. I am glad to say that the response from the students has been even better than I had hoped. I was teaching my year 12 PDHPE class last week and as part of a discussion about health promotion one of the girls brought up your presentation. For the rest of the lesson the students spoke (unprompted) about the impact that the day had on them and how powerful the message was. There were a number of drivers who said they had already thought deeply about their driving and have made changes already. Others who said that they were going to avoid getting in the car with certain people and one girl who texted her parents during the presentation to tell them she loved them because they had argued that morning.
The class consensus was that all drivers - not just young drivers should attend this presentation.
So again, thank you and the other presenters for sharing your heartbreak for the benefit of our students. I cannot even comprehend the courage it must take for you to do so. If you plan on making the trip south again next year we would definitely like to bring our next year group along.
I have copied and pasted some feedback that I received from the staff members that attended. Please feel free to use any of it with my details if you wish.
"My group were very sombre when we returned to the classroom. Willing to talk and share their ideas on the road rules that are placed upon them. We discussed road crashes they had been in/ experienced and some students felt terrified to get behind the wheel. We talked about the fact that it so important to have the independence of being able to drive and the crucial fact that if we ALL drive sensibly, the road will be a much safer place.
One thing that was very evident was that they now REALLY understood the purpose of the log book and why all those hours of driving experience are so important in conditioning them to in being able to drive to the road conditions. Such a worthwhile experience. I am sure that there were at least 160 students (plus 8 teachers) who went home yesterday, with a very different perspective on driving.
We had a good discussion about the presentation and the kids felt it was powerful and everyone needs to see it. They said it would make them think again about the choices they make. Very much one of the more poignant and important messages we must deliver to our students"
"Fantastic idea worth repeating".
"Thanks for the opportunity to be there. My group took the reflection exercise very seriously and gave good insight on the presentation and its effects"
"I am still recovering from todays presentation. Travelling home from my daughters soccer training tonight, i drove past a motor vehicle accident - two cars involved (ambo, police on the scene) and straight away my mind is firing "hope there was no fatality".
Cecil Hills High School Year 12 Adviser PDHPE Faculty
Message : Dear Michelle and the team,
Michelle, I am really sorry for your loss. I am hoping and praying that todays school group presentation at Bankstown Sport Club will make a difference to the young minds behind the wheels of their vehicles. I cannot thank you enough for the effort you are making and the courage with which you did that presentation.
Best wishes. Sailash Cecil Hills High School
“A lot of stuff can happen in the blink of an eye or just sending a text (when driving). I learnt that you should never take your eyes off the road because you can lose your life or limbs or even your family. I learnt about the pain of a mother losing her kids and how hurt they (family and friends) all were. The sister’s strength in coping with the loss of her two brothers. Don’t ever exceed the speed limit, watch where you go and never drink and drive” – Tahlia
As a teacher, this would have to be one of the most beneficial excursions I have ever supervised. The factual information was significant enough to cause change in students’ behaviour. However, seeing students comprehend how a few seconds of intended fun can turn to lifelong tragedy and heartache for those they love (and themselves) was clearly evident.
Just wanted to message you to say thank you so much for today. I don't work Thursday's but was trying to get a babysitter for my kids so I could still come, however everything fell through. I would have loved to have met you. Regardless my phone has been buzzing all day with messages about how powerful, moving and successful the day was. Our students were truly moved and this message will stay with them for a long time to come. These days it seems to take more and more to try and get a message through to them and we are so appreciative that you and your team have taken the time and strength to deliver a program so close to your hearts. Below I include the newsletter article going home to parents about today's excursion. You can read the statements our students have made about the impact on them.
Once again, thank you and please keep us on your list for next year too. We will absolutely do our best to get more schools on board too"
Feedback from Channel 7 news article - August 2015
Name : Callie
Message : Hi there my
name is Callie I attended Newcastle high during my finial year in 2010 I seen
roadwhyz I just wanted to let you know I will aways r ember the lesion on that
day thank you for making me realise the truth of road safety. I will never
forget your story
I got my L's when I was 17, I did my hours I knew how to drive. I put off getting my P's for 8yrs, purely because I didn't feel I was ready because of the reality I had already faced, I wasn't interested in having it.
It is such a race these days, to see who of your friends can get their license first. Just because you 'know' how to drive and can pass a driving test, it doesn't mean you are ready for that responsibility mentally. These courses should be part of the process to be able to get your P's. There are other things that I think should be changed to give teenagers the opportunity to become mature drivers without social pressure. The blood alcohol limit may be 0.00 for L's and P's but it does not stop their passengers from being intoxicated. That can be such a distraction. If the drinking age was raised, even a little, it would give young drivers time to adhere to road rules and gain experience. Maybe make the drinking age 20, which is the youngest you can be to get your full license.
Of course, not everyone gets their license straight away, so the drinking age would then be not as complimentary to those peoples skills as such, but the fact that they should likely have a job working side by side with older colleagues might give them more awareness. Yes, there are idiot drivers at every age, but we need to get young driver statistics down and things like this being introduced throughout every school in Australia would be a great start.
I attended a seminar at Singleton High School six years ago, I met Michelle & heard her story, as well as the many ambulance & police officers stories, after I walked out of our school hall that day, a part of me changed. i remember it like it was yesterday, I remember a ambulance officer telling us that some of us wouldn't make it to our 21st birthday, weren't they right over the past 6 years I've lost 11 friends to road fatalities, recent one being exactly 3 months ago this Friday I wish a lot of people will be effected like I was that day because then you know the message has gotten to them and it just might save their life or someone else's, young people don't realise that if they are killed in an accident it doesn't only effect their families but the emergency services that have to deal with it, I take my hat off to all emergency service workers, I know when it comes to going home at the end of a shift they cannot switch off what they have seen. Michelle is an inspirational, strong woman I hope her story gets through to everyone she is doing an amazing job🏼 Emmy