ROTARY Clubs in the district celebrated the 6000th student to complete the Rotary Youth Driver Awareness (RYDA) program last week.
The RYDA Program has been conducted in the area for the past 14 years and encourages young drivers and passengers to devise strategies to allow them to make safe choices on the roads.
The program is led by Rotary volunteers, Police, driving instructors and people directly affected by road accidents.
Practical demonstrations allow students to witness braking distances in relation to speed and also the effect of distractions while driving.
Students from Bulahdelah Central School attended the program last week,
Year 11 student Kaitlyn Gregory said the session presented by accident survivor Tod Green and his mother Sue was very moving.
“This showed the reality of how accidents on the roads can happen to anyone at any time,” she said.
“Sue’s emotional talk highlighted the ripple effect as even though it was Tod going through years of rehabilitation, his family experienced every part of it along with him.”
Bailey Shultz said he learnt a lot from the session presented by Senior Constable David Russell relating to responsibilities of young drivers.
“He spoke about many things that I can get in trouble for when driving that I didn’t know about,” Bailey said.
“The real life scenarios presented were full-on in showing the impact that making bad decisions on the roads can have on your family.”
Bulahdelah Central School students are fortunate to have the support of the Myall Coast Rotary Club who fully fund the annual cost of transporting the young drivers to the event.
Club members Ian Mackenzie-Smith, Rob Baker and Graeme Dunn participated in the sessions with the students during the day.
With a passion for Rotary Youth Programs, Mr Mackenzie-Smith said he was pleased to be involved with such a worthwhile Rotary initiative.
“Rotary offers 12 different youth programs and this is one of the best because it saves lives,” he said.
“If we only save one life, then the whole program has been worth it.”
Since the RYDA program started, the number of serious motor accidents involving young drivers in the area has significantly reduced.
By Daniel SAHYOUN