Advocating change

A community drive toward safer roads for young Tasmanians

In the next five years, more than 40,000 young Tasmanians will embark on a significant rite of passage: obtaining their driver’s licence.

The journey towards becoming a licensed driver is filled with excitement. Ensuring this journey is safe is essential, and involves a collective community effort.

Recently, during the Tasmanian election campaign, RACT advocated for a progressive approach to youth road safety. Understanding the importance of this issue to our members, we successfully secured cross-party support for a commitment of $8 million over five years. This funding will enable RACT to collaborate with other road safety stakeholders to craft and deploy a comprehensive road safety education program targeted at Year 9 to 12 students.

This initiative is about engagement and empowerment – it will offer young drivers practical, hands-on experiences and classroom-based sessions in every Tasmanian secondary school to start their driving education early.

It aims to empower not only learner drivers but also their families, providing them with essential guidance. The program also assists disadvantaged young Tasmanians to safely accumulate their required driving hours.

Stark statistics reveal the necessity for a new approach to road safety. Road crashes are the second leading cause of death among Australians aged 15 to 24. Each year, an average of 67 young Tasmanians are killed or seriously injured on our roads. These aren’t just numbers; they represent lives altered forever, dreams derailed, and families and communities impacted by tragedy.

As a community, it’s vital that we maintain an ongoing dialogue about this critical issue. We need to explore every avenue to support young drivers as they develop the understanding, experience and skills necessary for safer road usage.

In their first few years behind the wheel, young drivers are particularly vulnerable. By continuing conversations about high-risk situations – such as driving at night, long trips and driving under the influence, – we can guide them towards making safer choices.

Over the next 18 months, our team is excited to work alongside experts, young Tasmanians, educators, parents and carers, and government partners to develop a road safety program that resonates with the needs and realities of our youth.

This program will not only educate but also engage young drivers in a way that fosters lifelong safe driving habits and brings about generational change.

We also pledge to keep raising awareness and encouraging broader conversations about road safety. Together, we can drive a significant change and ensure that our roads are safer for everyone.