By Jeremy Rochow
Published: Wednesday, February 19, 2020
One of RAA’s most important roles is to help its members and the broader South Australian community, from educating motorists to offering Regional Safety Grants.
Teenagers can be a bit of a raucous bunch at times.
Not all of them, but when you’re among thousands of high school students, you expect a few to muck about. This wasn’t the case when I attended last year’s Street Smart High event at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.
The 2-day event, hosted by RAA, aims to teach high school students about road safety and protect them behind the wheel.
Crash survivors, family members of people who were killed on the road, and police recounted their stories, with about 4000 high school students transfixed, soaking in every word.
So, why does RAA run road safety events like Street Smart High?
RAA Senior Manager of Community Engagement, Ben Haythorpe said the aim of Street Smart High was to provide students with the opportunity to learn about the risks associated with driving.
“RAA runs Street Smart High as part of our commitment to reduce the youth road toll through education,” Mr Haythorpe said.
“We also have our Street Smart Primary program for younger students, which helps educate young South Australians about pedestrian, passenger and cyclist safety.”
2019 Street Smart High attendees
Road safety education doesn’t stop once students graduate from high school though, with RAA offering a variety of community education programs for all South Australians.
“All these programs, from Licence to Work to Keys2Drive and our Years Ahead program aim to improve road safety in South Australia,” Mr Haythorpe said.
“We want to assist all generations to ensure they’re as safe as possible on our roads.”
Keeping our community safe on the road
Road safety isn’t just about education. As part of RAA’s service to the community, it undertakes numerous initiatives, from road reviews to assessing South Australia’s regional roads.
Each year, RAA’s road safety team conducts regional road assessments. In 2019, the team assessed more than 7000km of regional roads across the Yorke Peninsula and Limestone Coast.
It also investigated the condition of the Augusta, Dukes and Riddoch highways.
RAA Senior Manager Safety and Infrastructure Charles Mountain said members’ feedback helped determine which roads were assessed.
“Both the Copper Coast Hwy on the Yorke Peninsula and Princess Hwy on the Limestone Coast featured in the top 10 of our 2017 Risky Roads survey,” Mr Mountain said.
“We send out a team to extensively investigate roads in the region and determine what action needs to be taken.
“The information provided to us by our members about roads in these regions helped us decide that they needed to be part of the 2019 Regional Road Assessment Program.”
Years Ahead presentations in 2019
Members can also send in submissions to RAA’s Report-a-Road Program. In 2019, RAA’s road safety team investigated 166 of 200 Report-a-Road nominations. On top of that, the team assessed 70km of traffic lanes on Kensington Rd, Richmond Rd and Cross Rd.
Sponsoring community projects
RAA supports its members in the community, helping them reach their goals. In 2018–19, RAA invested about $265,000 to South Australian communities, assisting with numerous local projects in regional and metro areas.
RAA Events and Sponsorship Manager Andrew Petersen said the aim of RAA’s Community Sponsorship Program was to strengthen community groups in need.
“RAA supports not-for-profits and community groups whose focus is helping disadvantaged South Australians and youth in need,” Mr Petersen said.