“It’s time to have a conversation about road safety with your teens.”

That’s the message from the Blue Datto Foundation in support of this week’s National Road Safety Week, and in the wake of yet another month full or horror fatalities and injuries on our roads.

Last year 260 young people aged under 24 were killed on Australian roads, making up almost a quarter of the country’s total road fatalities.

Over the last 10 years a staggering 3,115 young people have been killed in road crashes, including Philip Vassallo, the 17-year-old son of Blue Datto Co-Founder Colleen Vassallo.

“These are our sons, our daughters, our friends and community members. Each of them has a name, a family and loved ones who grieve for them every single day,” said Colleen.

“The most heartbreaking thing is that the majority of these crashes are preventable. Crashes are not inevitable, and we all have a role to play in helping keep our entire community safe.”

Colleen and the Blue Datto Foundation say that parents, guardians, older brothers and sisters of young drivers and passengers have the most potential to positively influence young people’s attitudes towards road safety – regardless of whether they are a learner driver, on their Ps or riding as a passenger.

“National Road Safety week is a great opportunity to talk openly and honestly to our kids and help them understand the risks and consequences of the choices they make. We need to provide our kids with strategies and support to minimise risk and stop this unnecessary loss of life.”

Blue Datto says there are many things parents can do to help keep young drivers safe including:

  1. Start a conversation and be willing to listen: Often young people can be hesitant to be open because they fear their reaction. Stay calm regardless of what they tell you, and set clear expectations and consequences for future driving.
  2. Set a good example: Research tells us that young drivers are strongly influenced by their parent’s driving behaviours. Are you being a good role model? What can you improve to set a good example?  
  3. Offer help and solutions: Can your young driver call you if their designated driver has had a few drinks? Or if they are feeling too tired to drive home after a late-night shift?
  4. Stay involved: Even once they have passed the Learner phase, it’s important to continue the conversation and monitor their behaviour. The most dangerous time for any young driver is up until the age of 25.

Since launching in 2015 Blue Datto has helped educate over 15,000 young people across NSW, their Keeping Safe™ program striking a chord with participants and the wider community.