© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2021

Driver education the key to reducing road toll

Nathan Morton
car driving
Students Against Dangerous Driving (SADD) is a charity aiming to empower young people to make safer and better choices on the road.  Caleb Whiting, unsplash.com

"The road rules are there for a reason," says youth driving organisation manager after NZ's deadliest month in a decade on the roads.

April was the deadliest month on the roads in New Zealand in 10 years, according to the Ministry of Transport. With 45 deaths recorded, the question is 'what can be done to tackle this problem?'.

The national manger of Students Against Dangerous Driving (SADD), Donna Govorko, said proper driver education was the key.

She said too many unqualified instructors were teaching the next generation how to drive, adding that better and more informed driver training should start within schools.

SADD had developed packs with leaflets and promotional packages, which pushed the message that driving needed to be taken seriously.

"The beauty of SADD is it's the young person's voice. Young people respond to young people [better than the voice of] an adult or police officer," Govorko said.

"We want to get positive driving messages out there. The road rules are there for a reason."

SADD's six principles were its "backbone", Govorko said.

The principles are sober drivers, safe speeds, no distractions, avoiding risks, driving to the conditions and building experience.

Automobile Association spokesperson Dylan Thomsen said driver education was not the only thing to focus on.

"It's equally important that we're taking action to improve the quality of our roads, get more people into safer vehicles and make sure we have safe speeds for the environment," he said.

"Being a good driver needs continual work and practice and the AA encourages even the most experienced drivers to keep asking themselves what they can do better, to check the road code for updates, and to look at occasional refresher training."