Teens talk to tackle road toll

Planning prevents trauma

Colac Secondary College students Luke Crawford, Madilyn Forster, Josh Morrissy, Brittnee Colbourne, Carla McKenzie and Kye Doensen say planning to stay over or arranging a ride home after a party could save lives.

COLAC teens say parents and children have a shared responsibility to ensure they have a ride home after a party.

The Transport Accident Commission’s Talk the Toll Down campaign is urging people to talk about ways to increase road safety.

Colac Secondary College students shared their thoughts about finding a safe way home after parties, and said planning could prevent road deaths.

“Usually I organise to stay where the party is, or a friend’s house because I live out of town,” Year 12 student Kye Doensen said.

“I’ve driven people home from parties when I haven’t been drinking,” Kye said.

“But my parents are usually happy to pick me up even if it’s a bit late – my Dad’s main thing is he just wants to know where I am.”

Fellow Colac Otway Shire Youth Council member Josh Morrissy said he usually planned more than one exit strategy, while classmate Luke Crawford said keeping his parents informed about his whereabouts also helped.

School co-captain Carla McKenzie said the death of Trinity College student Patrick Tibbits in August had affected Colac’s youths.

Patrick died in an early-morning truck accident at Drapers Road, Colac East, after he had left a party at a friend’s home.

“I think Pat’s death affected a lot of people and they did wake up to it,” Carla said.

“The most important thing is having a ride home,” she said.

Student leader Madilyn Forster said the incident had “opened up everyone’s eyes that it can happen to anyone”.

“Parents should be willing to pick us up at any time so we know they’re there, and not just hitching a ride with anyone,” Madilyn said.

“Getting a ride from a friend at the party isn’t as reliable as a parent,” she said.

Youth Council chairwoman and college co-captain Brittnee Colbourne said that while there was enough information on the issue, not all teens had absorbed the road safety message.

“Our generation is so naïve to it. It’s a ‘who cares?’ attitude and that’s why fatalities happen,” Brittnee said.

“At the end of the day, it comes down to the kids because we are responsible – we also have to be responsible to look after your mates as well,” she said.

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