Traffic safety is an area of focus for the Toyota Community Foundation and Toyota has been working with Road Safety Education Limited (RSE) since 2010.
The Excellence in Road Safety Education Awards are part of National Road Safety Week and recognise people and organisations who passionately provide RSE's flagship Rotary Youth Driver Awareness (RYDA) Program to high school students across Australia.
Darling Downs Rotary Clubs have achieved outstanding success in recent years by working in partnership in the community with the police, local council, driving instructors, youth workers, local MP's and many others to deliver the RYDA Program and increase awareness about the importance of youth road safety education.
RYDA is a practical road safety program for young drivers and their passengers that focuses on developing cognition, building and increasing social competency and resilience and motivating low risk behaviour. Facilitators work with students to develop and practice personalised strategies and life skills to help them respond positively to challenges on the road, both as drivers and as influential passengers.
Darling Downs Rotary Clubs started by offering RYDA to Toowoomba high schools and have since made RYDA available across the Darling Downs in regional towns, including Oakey, Chinchilla, Pittsworth, Warwick and Dalby. They have received great support from Black Toyota, who have several dealerships on the Darling Downs.
This year the Darling Downs Rotary Clubs will make RYDA available to over 1,500 senior high school students. To date, over 10,000 local high school students have participated in the program.
Toyota Australia's Corporate Citizenship Manager, Katarina Persic, presented the award and said National Road Safety Week was all about raising road safety awareness.
"On behalf of Toyota Australia, I'd like to say thank you to the Darling Downs Rotary Clubs for their significant contribution to road safety. Educating our young people on road safety is critical and Toyota is committed to supporting the delivery of quality road safety education," she said.
Chair of the Darling Downs RYDA Committee, Allan Rother, accepted the award and said the Committee was very passionate about this cause.
"The success of the RYDA Program on the Darling Downs stems from a combination of efforts: the enthusiastic cooperation of Rotarians from all clubs who volunteer to organise the program days, the commitment of Queensland Police to provide officers who are keen to present the program, assistance from the Black Toyota dealerships in each town who provide a vehicle for the practical stopping demonstration, support from TK's Driving School in Toowoomba and a commitment to road safety education from participating high schools," Mr Rother said.
"I am immensely proud to receive this greatly valued award on behalf of the Darling Downs Rotary Clubs and our many supporters," he added.
Program Director of Road Safety Education Limited, Greg Rappo, said the Toyota Community Foundation has been an invaluable support to grass roots communities.
"This award to our Community Partner Rotary is recognition for a grass roots team who have achieved outstanding success to help reduce youth road trauma through the delivery of the RYDA Program."
North Sydney Girls High School students, who attended the RYDA Program and the Excellence in Road Safety Awards on Friday, also participated in a special road safety week activity by making personal pledges to 'Drive So Other Survive'. All students placed their personal pledge on a Toyota vehicle.
National Road Safety Week in Australia this year coincided with the Fifth UN Global Road Safety Week 2019 - details about this global initiative can be viewed at https://www.who.int/roadsafety/week/2019/en/