More than 24,000 high school students from NSW and ACT have registered to attend the three-day bstreetsmart youth road safety forum at Qudos Arena on 15-17 August.
The road safety forum, an initiative of Westmead trauma team supported by Transport NSW teaches students to make safe choices on the roads and aims to lower mortality rates through education.
bstreetsmart co-founder Stephanie Wilson said more than 166,000 high school students had been given front-row seats to witness what it’s like to be involved in a serious motor vehicle crash since the program started 12 years ago.
“We hope this educational and confronting scenario encourages young people to make smarter and safer choices when behind the wheel and the safety and wellbeing of their passengers,” she said.
“Driver distractions such as phones, conversation and music plays a large role in many of the incidents we see and patients we treat.”
Planning for the event starts in February and organisers do a complete run-through of the crash scenario leading up to it.
Props this year include three smashed cars, a motor bike from the Fire Brigade – and lots of fake blood.
Vicki Richardson – the mother of Brooke Richardson, who tragically lost her life in 2012 while texting and driving – is the guest speaker at bstreetsmart 2017.
She will describe the impact of Brooke’s death on the family, and talk about the Brooke Richardson Foundation, which was set up by the family in her name.
The number of students who attend bstreetsmart has grown in each year. It started with just 464 students in 2005; this year the number is 24,000.
“This demonstrates we are doing something right in teaching our youth about the dangers of driving, being a pedestrian and giving them strategies on how to make smart choices in life,” Stephanie said.
“We are hopeful that these messages will stay with them for the rest of their lives.”
bstreetsmart has won many awards, including the Australian Road Safety Award in 2014 for Schools Programs Award and a WSLHD Quality Award 2016 for Preventative Health.