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Plugging safe driving message

Gisborne Girls’ High School students against dangerous driving (SADD) highlight important road safety messages for their Remember September campaign this month

GGHS’s SADD committee leader, and member of the national leadership programme Alice Kibble says it is an important time to promote the programme’s six principles — sober drivers, safe speeds, no distractions, avoiding risks, driving to the conditions and building experience.

“We aimed to make the activities and messages more personal and real,” she said.

The activities include ‘‘what would you miss?’’, a visual display that allows anyone to write down on a note what they would miss if they were to pass away in a car accident.

The messages are put on a wall for everyone to see and some of them so far include, ‘‘my family, friends, pets, reading, chicken nuggets, sunshine, my witty sense of humour and the future’’.

There is a display of 89 dangerous driving articles published by The Gisborne Herald for the year so far.

The group also decorated a full corridor as a road, with vehicles and with photos of prefects and committee members in the driver’s seat.

Alice said SADD broadened its mandate in 2014 from a focus on drunk driving, to include dangerous driving.

“The change was made because it became evident it was not just drunk drivers who caused accidents among youth.

“Driver distraction is becoming a bigger concern and can range from changing a CD, to using a cellphone while driving,” she said.

Alice is particularly interested in this area, as her mother was in a serious car accident in collision with a distracted driver.

“There has been a 60 percent drop in the number of drink-drivers detected under the age of 20, but sadly it’s still a leading cause of death and serious injury on our roads.

“We hope with all the activities we are carrying out at our school and in the community, that we can help to educate all drivers,” Alice said.

SADD national manager Donna Govorko is heartened by the enthusiasm the students have shown in co-ordinating their Remember September road safety activities.

“These students have shown incredible initiative by putting together such a comprehensive programme for the community.

“SADD is a peer-to-peer education programme and it is important that the safer driving messages provide a youth perspective.

“As a charitable trust, the programme is still going strong more than 30 years after it launched in New Zealand, and we’re really proud to be in 75 percent of secondary schools, reaching more than 220,000 young people,” said Ms Govorko.

Alice will hand over the reins to next year’s team leader Sterling Maxwell.

“I’m a bit nervous to follow in her (Alice’s) footsteps.

She has been involved in the programme for so long,” she said.

Alice did confess it felt like she was ‘‘giving up her baby’’ but knew the girls would do a great job and that she would still find ways to help and be involved.

REMEMBER SEPTEMBER: Gisborne Girls’ High School’s students against drunk driving (SADD) committee members highlight dangerous driving issues for this years ‘Remember September’ campaign at the school with an interactive hallway. From left are Caitlyn Raklander, current team leader Alice Kibble and future team leader Sterling Maxwell. Picture by Liam Clayton