Road Safety for the Next Generation

Young drivers aged between 16 and 25 years old continue to be over-represented in Tasmania’s crash statistics.

Today’s National Road Safety theme is Safety for the Next Generation and  is focusing on young people, ensuring that they are both safe on the roads and have the skills to become competent drivers.

National Road Safety Week is an initiative of the Safer Australian Roads and Highways (SARAH) Group, partnering with government and road safety advocates, to highlight the impact of road trauma and ways to reduce it. N

On average, 78 people aged 25 or under are seriously injured or killed on Tasmanian roads each year.  This includes young drivers, passengers, pedestrians and motorcyclists in this age group.

And although they only make up 11 per cent of the Tasmanian population, 16 to 25-year-olds make up 21 per cent of all deaths and serious injuries on our roads.

“While we have seen a reduction in the five-year average in the number of young people aged 25 or under who are seriously injured or killed on our roads, it’s still too high,” said the Chair of the Road Safety Advisory Council, Scott Tilyard.

“Saving young lives is one of the key themes under the Towards Zero Action Plan but we need the help of the community to ensure our harm reduction programs and projects are successful.”

As part of National Road Safety Week, family and friends are encouraged to have a conversation about safe road use and not being afraid to call out unacceptable driving behaviours.

“It’s important to remind young people if they find themselves in uncomfortable driving situations to have the confidence to speak up for themselves and their mates,” said Mr. Tilyard.

“We need to continue to remind not only young drivers but all drivers that taking risks can have tragic consequences.”

Mr Tilyard said young Tasmanians, both those in early childhood and primary school are vulnerable when using the roads, especially when not properly restrained when in the car or walking or riding a bike or getting off the school bus.

“We have a number of programs in place helping to keep children safe, including school crossing patrol officers along with campaigns to encourage lower speeds around schools and school buses.

“Research shows us that young drivers are at the highest risk of being killed or seriously injured in the first year of unsupervised driving when they have the least experience, which is why we have enhanced the Graduated Licencing System and a number of education initiatives in place,” said Mr Tilyard.

Training initiatives like the RYDA, the RACT’s Ready for the Road course and the Full Gear motorcycle program aim to boost the abilities of all users, focusing on instilling the right mindset and a sense of shared responsibility for safe road usage.

In 2020, changes were made to the Tasmanian Graduated Licencing System to align it to an enhanced model under the Australian Graduated Licensing Scheme model.

The changes included increasing the number of hours required for learner drivers and including a component of night-time hours, so they get more on road experience, and the development of a digital learning platform to assist with learning the Road Rules. The changes were made to help reduce crashes among young people and improve the pathway to a provisional driver licence.

Tasmania’s motorcyclist graduated licensing system is also being reviewed in a bid to make inexperienced riders safer.  Motorcyclists continue to be overrepresented in Tasmania’s serious casualty crashes.


Funded by the Tasmanian Government, the Rotary Clubs of Tasmania’s RYDA program is a long-running road safety education program for students in years 10 to 12.

 The program provides students with the opportunity to participate in practical demonstrations, learning valuable road safety lessons from expert presenters and volunteers. 

The Head of Program Delivery for Road Safety Education Australia Limited, John Elliott, says Tasmanians participate in RYDA at a higher rate than any other state, with 75,000 students completing the program since 2007.

“RYDA features a highly interactive workshop day as well as a range of in-class and individual learning resources that reinforce and extend road safety learning throughout the school year, including building road safety into different curriculum areas,” said Mr Elliott. “RYDA aims to empower students with the strategies, tools and resilience to make good decisions on the road, as both drivers as passengers,” said Mr. Elliott.

Developed in consultation with an expert advisory council, RYDA also demonstrates the impact speed has on stopping distances, helps students see the road from other user’s point of view, including heavy vehicle driers and vulnerable road users and provides an opportunity to practice speaking up as a passenger when they feel unsafe.

RYDA will also launch two new programs this week – one for parents and guardians of learner drivers called Drive Coach, along with a new peer-led program for students designed to help create a road safety culture within schools.