The Picton Rotary Club is determined to tackle the issue of teenage accidents on Wollondilly roads, with a driver safety program in schools called U Turn the Wheel.
The start of the program began with two sessions in May at Picton High School and the Wollondilly Anglican College.
The U Turn the Wheel program is a practical and theoretical-based education program designed to teach high school students in years 10, 11 and 12 about safe driving.
President of the Picton Rotary Club Lyn Davey said the aim of the program is to help students gain confidence in order to obtain their L or their P levels licence.
“What we’re doing is priming them up before they even get their L-plates so we’re doing the subjects such as who you get in the car with.
“We’re also talking about the effects of alcohol, drugs, speeding, hooning just in general… so basically pointing out to the kids that they’re not just protecting themselves by being safe but they’re protecting the local community,” Ms Davey said.
The program was created as a response to an accident that occurred in Buxton, which tragically resulted in the death of five Picton High School students.
This isn’t the only incident, as one quarter of all driving fatalities in Australia relate to the 17-25 age group, with this age group only making up about 15% of the driving population.
“(Some of the students in the program) are the friends of the kids who died,” Davey said.
Picton mechanic Bryan Hayes recently had his son – who is in Year 10 – complete the program.
“It’s very serious, because a lot of kids lose their lives driving,” he said.
“All of the sudden you’ve got all this freedom, and you can go anywhere you want, do anything you want.
“I think you have this thing where you think you’re the best driver that’s ever driven. You don’t think it’s going to happen to you.”
The program will see students complete the U Turn the Wheel course over the next three years with the program updated each year.
At the end of the three years the Picton Rotary Club will document road incidents from the Wollondilly area and compare them to the 2022 and 2023 statistics to ascertain the long-term effects of the program in the hope that it decreases road death statistics for the area.