Street Smart plan aims to save lives
One of New Zealand’s biggest car companies is about to introduce a nationwide campaign aimed at helping young motorists drive more safely on our roads.
Holden New Zealand is soon to launch Street Smart, a driver training programme designed to equip young Kiwis to be well prepared and confident while behind the wheel.
The programme has been developed by road safety expert Peter Sheppard, and will be fronted by motor racing star and road safety advocate Greg Murphy.
It all stems from growing concern that young and inexperienced drivers are figuring far too highly in accident statistics.
‘‘Fatal crashes, where the driver’s contribution is significant, such as loss of control, driving too fast for the conditions, or inexperience, are 2-3 times more likely to involve 15-24 year old drivers, than drivers 25 years and older,’’ says Holden NZ general manager of marketing Marnie Samphier.
‘‘This is due to a lack of awareness which results in poor decision-making on the roads. In fact, more than 60 per cent of all fatal crashes do not involve alcohol or drugs.’’ Samphier adds that there’s also a need to help youth get their drivers licences to assist them in getting a job.
Street Smart will be a one-day event which will provide young drivers and their parents/ caregivers the opportunity to practice their driving under supervised conditions.
The focus will be on developing good decision-making and skills vital for safe driving – including self-assessment, how to read the road environment, resisting peer pressure, managing or eliminating distractions, and planning ahead.
These events will be held in controlled, off the road environments under the watchful eye of qualified coaches plus the parent/caregiver. This will also allow the parent to assess themselves, in order to be a better coach and mentor for their teens, says Samphier.
A pilot event is expected to be held next month to test the programme under real-life conditions, and it will officially start early next year.
The Street Smart events will be held during the school holidays at venues around New Zealand. It is expected they will cater for up to 30 drivers each day – all them using their own vehicles – and there will be a nominal entry fee of $40 to $50.
‘‘It’s important to make it clear that the Street Smart events will be held under strictly controlled environments – there won’t be anything like hot laps,’’ says Holden NZ’s general manager of corporate affairs Ed Finn.
‘‘They will be a practical, hands-on learning experience, that will add to work already undertaken by the NZ Transport Agency. police, AA and others in the area of road safety.’’
Street Smart is designed to help teenage drivers be more prepared when behind the wheel of a car.