The Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) has issued a road safety warning as Australia celebrates Schoolies week from Nov. 17-19.
In a release, RACQ urged parents to help their children plan for their trip to ensure they get to their destination safely, noting that 297 people were killed on Queensland roads in 2022 – with most of the fatalities being young drivers aged between 16 and 24 years old.
RACQ coaching and development officer Tiffany Boyd called on parents to talk to their teenagers about road safety, especially when they are driving themselves or their friends to their Schoolies destination.
“Thousands of Year 12 students are counting down the days to Schoolies, and we want them to remember this exciting time for all the right reasons,” she said. “The best option for parents would be to drive your teenagers to Schoolies yourself, so they can leave the car at home.
“If that's not possible, we want parents to have a conversation with their children about road safety. It's important for young people to understand that their decisions behind the wheel can have life-changing consequences.”
RACQ revealed that young drivers are more likely to be involved in a serious or fatal car crash compared to other age groups.
“These crashes were often the result of choices that people made, and it's heartbreaking to know they could have been avoided,” Boyd said. “We want people to make a choice to put on their seatbelt, not to drive after having a drink, put the phone on Do Not Disturb while driving, and prioritise getting themselves and their friends home safely.”
Boyd further urged parents to equip their teenagers with the “one phone call – no questions” strategy.
“Make sure they know they have someone to call if they get themselves in a tough situation, someone who won't ask questions or get angry,” she said. “It's important for young people to understand that the priority for them is to get home safely, rather than fearing potential consequences such as mad or disappointed parents.”
In August, RACQ released a thought-provoking road safety campaign for men after finding that men are more likely to die on Queensland roads than women.