Students Against Dangerous Driving (SADD) celebrated its 30-year anniversary this week and it has plenty to congratulate itself for, including an impressive statistic.
The student-led organisation promotes safer driving among secondary school students, and was started in 1985 by a group of students at Mahurangi College.
Its now supported by the AA and New Zealand Transport Agency and is active in 77 per cent of our high schools.
The most impressive statistic is that since its inception, there has been an 80 per cent reduction in road deaths among 15 to 19 year olds. In 1985 there were 152 deaths in that demographic, while for the past five years the average has been 30.
But SADD is worried at this year's figures, with 13 deaths in the first three months. The organisation said it feared an increase in young fatalities for 2016. SADD school support co-ordinator Chris Rogers says his experience in losing four people in road crashes during his high school years made him want to be a part of SADD.
"If you are between 15 and 19, you are more likely to die in a car crash than by any other cause," Chris says.
"Invariably it's speed, alcohol or drugs that have the most destructive impact. Now that I work for SADD, I try and educate young people about the six SADD principles that will keep them safe."
Those six principles include: 1. Sober drivers; 2. Safe speeds; 3. No distractions; 4. Avoid risks; 5. Drive to the conditions; 6. Build experience.
Let's get behind SADD and re-iterate the six points with the teenagers we know. And being a great example of those principles is also essential for us parents.