Making teens safer on the road

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A revamped RMIT University-devised program is making sure Victorian teenagers are safe on the state’s roads.

In its 12th year, the Fit2Drive program was recently re-launched by the Victorian Government.

Fit2Drive phase two focuses on encouraging teenage passengers to positively influence their friends who are considering drink driving, speeding or engaging in other dangerous behaviour.

The program is targeting more than 60,000 Year 11 students through road safety workshops rolled out across secondary schools.

Dr Kerry Montero, Youth Work program manager, was part of the team that developed the original Fit2Drive and was also involved in writing and developing the revamped program.

Dr Montero is also a member of the state-wide coordinating committee providing expert advice to the Fit2Drive Foundation Board, and is involved in training the program’s facilitators.

She said the revamped program had a greater focus on young people as passengers and was closely linked to the VCE curriculum.

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“The program involves trained university undergraduates as peer facilitators and was conducted in 220 schools across the state, involving 28,000 students last year,” she said.

“There are plans in development to extend the program to include things like workshops for young people in youth justice settings and community youth forums to develop leaders in road safety in local communities.”

Victorian Minister for Roads Terry Mulder said the program put the state at the forefront of road safety behavioural change at a secondary school level.

“The dangers of irresponsible behaviour on the roads can be dire,” Mr Mulder said.

“Teenagers need skills and practical strategies to get themselves out of potentially dangerous situations.”

The workshops include 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.

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“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.

Dr Montero along with RMIT Youth Work alumnus Bernadette Ariens and former secondary school principal and curriculum developer, Graham Spencer, first developed the Fit2Drive program in 2002.

They worked with the Young Driver Safety Committee from the Frankston-Mornington Peninsula region, a community-based group of school members and community organisations formed to tackle the high rate of road trauma among young people in the region at the time.

(Source: RMIT University)

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Date Created: July 12, 2014 Date Modified: July 13, 2014