Road crash survivors, police officers and Rotarians banded together this week to educate local students and hopefully prevent further deaths on Australian roads.
Year 11 students from Eden Marine High School, Lumen Christi Catholic College and Sapphire Coast Anglican College travelled to Frogs Hollow on Wednesday, May 10 to participate in the annual local Rotary Youth Driver Awareness Program (RYDA).
Organised by Bega Rotary, the day aims to show the teenagers a range of ways to stay safe on the roads.
Bega Rotary president Charlie Blomfield said they hoped the day would convince the kids to think about their actions before they get behind the wheel.
“They need to understand that these are their choices, but the choices they make will affect a lot of people. They have the power to make a difference,” he said.
The most confronting part of the day for the students were the speeches from road crash survivors, explaining how one bad decision can change your life forever.
Rotarian Ruth Marshall said a lot of the students were brought to tears during these speeches.
“But I told them, ‘It is better to cry than to die’,” Ms Marshall said.
Eighteen-year-old Maggie Bramic who had completed the program only a couple of years ago as a student once again bravely recounted her near death experience after crashing a car while camping with her friends ago at Nethercote Falls.
Another presentation was given by fatal crash survivor John Perry.
In 2003, Mr Perry was involved in a head-on collision that almost killed him. In fact, according to paramedics, he died three times. His legs were shattered, he broke his neck and broke his back in eight places. He was confined to a wheelchair for four years.
“It all happened because another bloke was in a hurry,” Mr Perry told the students. “You guys have been given the opportunity to educate whoever you touch. Tell people they can’t keep being idiots, cars are weapons.
“If you go out there and you are a ratbag on the road, you’re going to go to jail and this is a fortunate thing because we don’t need ratbags on our roads wiping out our families.”
We don’t need ratbags on our roads wiping out our families.John Perry
The day’s activities included speeches from police who emphasised the seriousness not driving while fatigued or under the influence as well as a speed demonstration workshop which showed the kids how long it takes for a car to come to a complete stop.