By James Gratton
Published: Monday, June 22, 2020
Getting home safely can be a real issue for teenagers, especially if they don’t know who to call or they’re afraid they’ll get in trouble with their parents.
Whether it’s getting in a car when the driver is affected by alcohol or a mate who’s driving dangerously, these situations can quickly turn fatal.
So to help teenagers make it home safely, RAA has developed Free Pass Cards.
The cards act as contracts between beginner drivers and trusted designated drivers, such as parents or family friends, who’ll come pick them up in any situation.
Parents or caregivers are encouraged to sit down with their young drivers and talk about what to do if they’re ever in a risky situation and worried about getting home safely.
The trusted driver then signs the card, which entitles the teen to a free ride home – no questions asked.
If the trusted driver can’t pick them up, the Free Pass Card lists some back-up strategies such as catching a taxi home or staying the night at a friend’s house.
RAA Senior Manager of Community Engagement Ben Haythorpe said every teenager should have the right to get home safely.
“Young drivers will often put themselves in dangerous situations, as they feel there is no alternate way of getting home,” Mr Haythorpe said.
“The Free Pass Cards aim to give teenagers the confidence to contact their parents if an uncomfortable situation arises on a night out.
“They also act as an important conversation starter between parents and their children about the dangers of getting in a car with someone who may be affected by drugs or alcohol.”
Between 2014 to 2018, around 170 deaths on South Australian roads were caused by excessive alcohol consumption or drug use.
Alcohol and drugs can severely impair essential functions such as vision, hearing and the brain’s information processing speed.