Tackling teenage risk taking on the road

More than 60,000 year 11 students are the focus of a new campaign to save young lives on the roads.

A revamped road safety workshop is being rolled out in schools to encourage teenage passengers to positively influence their friends, who are considering drink driving, speeding or engaging in other dangerous behaviour.

The Victorian Coalition Government has teamed up with F2D Foundation (Fit2Drive) and secondary schools, to launch the workshop today at Mt Eliza Secondary College.

As part of the program, students develop personal and school road safety plans.

Minister for Roads Terry Mulder said the workshop has Victoria at the forefront of road safety behavioural change at a secondary school level.

"The dangers of irresponsible behaviour on the roads can be dire. Teenagers need skills and practical strategies to get themselves out of potentially dangerous situations."

The workshop includes group discussions, using scenarios to explore strategies to keep young people and their friends safe, role plays to support the development of problem solving skills, and development of personal and school road safety plans.

Minister for Education Martin Dixon said the F2D workshop targets teenagers who are nearing the age of getting their licence.

"Peer group pressure can influence the way young people behave in a vehicle, so I'm pleased that the F2D workshops are providing a stronger focus on passenger safety," Mr Dixon said.

Assistant Police Commissioner Robert Hill of the Road Policing Command and Patron of the F2D Foundation said the program will empower young people to challenge dangerous behaviours and understand the risks involved.

"Young people continue to be over-represented in road trauma," Mr Hill said.

F2D Foundation Secretary Graham Spencer said the workshop is delivered by trained university students and includes group discussions and using various scenarios to explore strategies to keep young people and their peers safe.

The revamped F2D workshop, with involvement from police and MFB is increasing its reach to approximately 500 secondary schools.

Surveys completed by nearly 1,000 students who trialled the program indicated the new road safety F2D workshop was well received. Around 70 per cent of students indicated they will use the strategies to avoid risky situations in the car as a passenger or driver all or most of the time.

Students have said the following about the Police and MFB involvement:

'It makes you realise that it doesn't have to be you driving to help make driving decisions.'

'Because it makes you stop and think and it also gives you a wake-up call of what could go wrong if you aren't careful.'

'The program also gave an insight into the impact an accident can have on not only your family but the police and fire brigade that are called to accidents. It makes you look at the repercussions of your actions.'

Mr Mulder said the Coalition Government together with road safety agencies has been successful in reducing the young driver casualty crashes by 20 per cent in recent years through measures such as the Graduated Licensing System (GLS), a ban on mobile phone use for all probationary drivers and a range of support programs like F2D.

"This behaviour change workshop is an important part of assisting young passengers and drivers to stay safe on our roads. That's why it's important we get it into as many secondary schools as possible," Mr Mulder said.

More information can be found at www.F2D.com.au

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