Youth in 40pc of crashes
By LUIS FELIU
DESPITE holding 16 per cent of all NSW drivers licences, young drivers were involved in 40 per cent of all crashes in northern NSW between 2001 and 2003, a risk-reduction seminar for high school students at Tweed Heads was told on Friday.
Tweed Shire Council road safety officer Ray Clark told students the disturbing statistic during his presentation.
The seminar, he said, aimed to better inform young people about risk-taking behaviour including drinking and driving, unsafe driving and illicit drug taking.
"The Year 10 and 11 students are entering a particularly vulnerable stage of their lives, a time when they are naturally exploring their own boundaries," Mr Clark said.
During the seminar, a simulated motorvehicle accident scenario was played out on stage by drama students, police, and emergency services staff.
The scenario, in which some teenagers are injured in a car crash in which the P-plate driver was found to be affected by alcohol, prompted some laughter from the audience.
"The trouble is they don't stop laughing till it's the real thing - then they stop," Kingscliff High School (KHS) teacher Carol Bannerman said during the simulation.
"Unfortunately all our schools have been touched by these sort of tragedies," she said.
KHS year 10 student Hugh Green said the seminar had helped him learn "how to be prepared in these situations - knowing how one thing can lead to another".
Hugh said he better understood the effects of risky behaviour such as drink-driving, binge drinking or smoking tobacco or cannabis and would now be more careful.
Mt St Patrick College year 11 student Louise Rushforth said she could now identify dangers more clearly.
"A boy at our school was killed in an accident a couple of years ago which made a lot of people realise the dangers of such risky be- haviour - these stories support that," she said.