RAC WA ‘bstreetsmart’ Event Educates Young, Distracted Drivers In Perth Photo:

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Trevor Collett | Apr, 15 2014 | 0 Comments

The 2014 ‘bstreetsmart’ road safety event has been declared a success by Western Australia’s peak motoring group, the RAC.

More than 6000 students from Years 10, 11 and 12 witnessed the event, aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of distraction behind the wheel for young drivers.

The RAC combined with WA Police, Royal Perth Hospital, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services and St John Ambulance to stage the event last week.

RAC Group CEO, Terry Agnew, said students who attended bstreetsmart observed a re-enacted crash scene, caused by a distracted driver.

“bstreetsmart is designed to be an up-close, uncompromising and honest look at how poor decisions behind the wheel can change lives forever,” Mr Agnew said.

“We do this through a 40 minute dramatisation of a crash scene which uses actors as victims and real-life police, paramedics and firefighters to demonstrate and explain how the emergency services respond in a crisis.”

Mr Agnew said young drivers aged 17-24 are over-represented in fatal crash statistics, as these drivers make up 18 percent of road fatalities, yet only account for 11 percent of the population.

Director of Trauma Service at Royal Perth Hospital, Dr Sudhakar Rao, said he sees the consequences of distracted driving too regularly.

“As WA’s Major Trauma Service, part of our job is to try to put these young people back together after a crash. We hope that by giving young drivers a taste of what we see, they will put away their phones and pay greater attention to the road,” Dr Rao said.

An RAC survey of 700 17-19 year olds found 43 percent read or send text messages while driving, and a further 20 percent check social media behind the wheel.

Speaking with TMR, the RAC’s Will Golsby said 2014 will be the first time bstreetsmart has been run twice in the same year, with ‘Country Week’ school students getting their turn to experience the event in Perth on July 1.

The second running of bstreetsmart is aimed squarely at young drivers from rural areas, who are also over-represented in collision statistics.

“Twenty-two percent of Western Australia’s population lives in rural areas, yet they account for 45 percent of road fatalities,” Mr Golsby said.

“Incidences involving drivers from the ‘wheat belt’ are four times higher than the state average. There were 162 fatalities in WA last year, around one death for every two days, which is higher than the national average.”

Mr Golsby said students who participated in this year’s event were surveyed, enabling the RAC to gauge the event’s success, and students were encouraged to share their thoughts via social media.

“We has 2500 student in the first year, 5000 last year, and 6300 this year,” Mr Golsby said.

“The event was quite confrontational, and included speakers who had been involved in road trauma speaking about how it happened and how it affected their lives.”

The bstreetsmart event is scheduled to return in 2015.

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