Students Against Dangerous Driving National Manager Donna Govorko explains why students are working closer with road safety professionals.
When the Papamoa College SADD student committee figured out that increased road user numbers meant more risks to cyclists in their local community, they sought help from partners.
The students worked with a Police school community officer and Tauranga City Council’s Travel Safe coordinators on a joint problem-solving approach. The campaign led to increased understanding of road rules, increased visibility and standards of bikes, increased helmet use plus fewer incidents on local streets.
For SADD National Manager Donna Govorko, this was an example of how the organisation’s members are stepping up to play a more active and effective role in New Zealand’s road safety system.
Students Against Dangerous Driving has committees in secondary schools around the country, and members design activities and messages to change how their peers act on our roads.
Donna says students are using a problem solving approach to investigate local issues and develop solutions or campaigns, increasingly in conjunction with road safety professionals in local councils or the police.
“We’ve started to get more alignment with the Safe System approach, with more opportunities for students to have their voices heard,” says Donna.
“We have students spending time with their local police on checkpoints or getting police officers into their schools to talk about what problems there are in their community. They are working closer with other road safety partners to reinforce their messages and activities about safer road user behaviour.
“The students are starting to think about more than just simple activities in their school. They are getting the message that what they do matters, that they have an impact on their wider community.”
At the 2018 national SADD conference, students were introduced to the design thinking process used by the NZ Transport Agency’s education and advertising team to identify problems, engage with a target audience and communicate solutions.
“The students went back to their schools and put that learning into practice, working not only in their school but with community partners to share their messaging and encourage positive road safety behaviours,” says Donna.
She says SADD has also strengthened its student leadership programme.
“Our purpose is very clear – we exist to empower young Kiwis to take the lead in combating our rising road trauma, to demonstrate youth agency and amplify the movement for change. Our student leaders are collaborators, communicators, event managers and influencers.”
This year, SADD has expanded its safety focus to include all road users. This means students are campaigning on issues related to in-car behaviours, safe passengers, cyclists, pedestrians and rail safety.
For example, during the week of 27-31 May, SADD is challenging individuals and groups around New Zealand to go Phone Free for 48 hours.
“Our six principles remain the same: sober drivers, safe speeds, no distractions, avoiding risk, drive to the condition, building experience. However, the definitions have expanded to include contemporary issues facing young road users,” says Donna.
Donna says it is not difficult for teachers to support their school’s SADD committee.
“We have created Teacher Guidelines to assist you supporting SADD groups in your school. SADD is student led so your role as a teacher is to encourage, motivate and lend a helping hand.
“We also encourage SADD students to take their activities into the classroom and make them count towards NZ curriculum goals, so take a look at the NZ Transport Agency's Education Portal for ideas.
“Above all, we encourage teachers to support SADD students to be changemakers in their communities. Support them to spread messages not just in school but beyond the school gate, to influence positive road user behaviour by everyone.”
She says SADD encourages best practice road safety education, which means:
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