GETTING behind the wheel of a vehicle is a rite of passage, but it's also a nerve-wracking one both for young drivers and their parents.
Since 2008, the Rotary Youth Driver Awareness program has been delivered to Leeton shire students, as well as those from schools in the surrounding region.
Last week the 2022 event was held at the Yanco Agricultural Institute after being postponed from the original February date.
The program marked a significant milestone for the Leeton event, with its 5000th student officially taking part in the initiative last week.
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Leeton Shire Council road safety officer Steph Puntoriero said RYDA was presented through a combined effort of numerous stakeholders.
"It was a massive achievement to see 5000 students through the program," she said. "Student feedback from the day is all very positive. One of the popular sessions again was the speeding and stopping demonstration from the NSW highway patrol.
"Our crash survivor also presented very inspirational stories to the students, which provided an insight into how quickly life can change. Local police liaison officers, road safety officers from Griffith and Narrandera and local driving instructors all presented to complete the six-session timetable."
Mrs Puntoriero thanked the various sponsors, the shire's two Rotary clubs, Narrandera and Leeton councils and faciliators who made the event possible in 2022.
The 5000th student came from Yanco Agricultural High School and won a prize pack and free driving lesson.
The RYDA program aims to reduce road trauma through attitude and behaviour change and, at the same time, contribute to the totality of community and government road safety messages.
The workshop content has been developed according to best-practice guidelines for road safety education in consultation with road safety experts, professional bodies, government within the educational sector and includes the latest research.
Leeton RYDA has been held on site at Yanco Agricultural Institute annually since 2008.
"Students that attended (last week) were from schools in Leeton, Yanco, Narrandera, Griffith, Hay, Ardlethan, Ariah Park, Barellan, Lockhart and Oaklands," Mrs Puntoriero said.
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