As the school holidays draw near, motoring group and insurer RACQ are reminding teens to mind how they behave in a vehicle to prevent road accidents.
The message comes following a recent research, conducted as part of RACQ's education program “Docudrama,” which revealed that a staggering 85% of high school students admit to being a distracting passenger.
“Distraction is the fastest-growing problem on our roads,” said RACQ spokesperson Lauren Ritchie. “While the dangers of distracted driving are well known, the responsibility passengers play in not pulling the focus off the task of driving needs a lot of work. It might seem harmless to dance along to a song on the radio, offer some food to the driver, or hold up your phone to show a photo – but for the driver to look away for even two seconds when driving at 60 km/h, he or she can travel up to 33 metres completely blind. Sadly young drivers, particularly males 17-24 year old, are in the highest-risk age group for fatalities. We need teens to recognise the dangers and to do everything they can to stay safe on the roads.”
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The study also found that more than three quarters of the students surveyed experienced a time when they thought their lives were at risk as passengers, due to a number of factors such as “the driver might be travelling too quickly, or they’ve been drinking or are distracted.”
To ensure road safety, Ritchie said the passengers' role is crucial.
“Passengers have an important role to play in keeping themselves safe,” she said. “Not only can they lower their risk of crash by not being a distraction, but also by speaking up when they’re feeling unsafe.”
Ritchie said teens who’ll soon be enjoying the holidays should “take a moment to consider how they behave in a vehicle: whether that’s when behind the wheel, or when they’re in the passenger seat.”
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