Toyota Australia has presented the Toyota Community Award to the Eurobodalla RYDA Scheme in Batemans Bay as part of the annual Excellence in Road Safety Education Awards.
The Excellence in Road Safety Education Awards recognises individuals and organisations who deliver excellence in providing Road Safety Education's (RSE) Rotary Youth Driver Awareness (RYDA) Program to high school students across Australia.
Toyota Australia Chief Marketing Officer Vin Naidoo said the committee and community behind the Eurobodalla RYDA Scheme were extremely deserving winners of this year's Toyota Community Award.
"The RYDA program is delivered to an average of 40,000 students each year across Australia and New Zealand and the work they do in the community is vital," Mr Naidoo said.
"We congratulate everyone involved in Eurobodalla for strongly getting behind this important initiative," he said.
RYDA has been delivered to schools in the Eurobodalla region since 2008, with nearly 3,000 students participating in the program.
John Elliott, Head of Marketing and Program Delivery for Road Safety Education Australia, said the youth in the Eurobodalla Local Government Area, like many other regional areas, are overrepresented in road fatality statistics, and are many times more likely to have a fatal road accident than their metropolitan counterparts.
"By implementing the RYDA program across schools in the Eurobodalla Local Government Area and prioritising road safety education amongst its local young people, the community is determined to reduce those statistics and help ensure its young drivers have all the skills and sensibility they need to stay safe on the road," Mr Elliot said.
RYDA is a practical road safety program for young drivers and their passengers that focuses on developing cognition, building and increasing social competency and resilience and motivating low risk behaviour. Facilitators work with students to develop and practice personalised strategies and life skills to help them respond positively to challenges on the road, both as drivers and as influential passengers. Importantly, RYDA receives support from NSW and local governments, RSE's corporate partners, and local businesses and volunteers to ensure the program is affordable and accessible to those who need it the most.
Eurobodalla Toyota Dealer Principal Jade Cowan, presented the award to RYDA Organising Committee Chair and member of the Rotary Club of Batemans Bay Neil Simpson, at a ceremony on 23 June at the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club, with more than half of the 30 passionate volunteers who have helped deliver the RYDA program in attendance.
In accepting the award, Mr Simpson said: "It is very pleasing that Eurobodalla RYDA has been selected for the community award as we are a small group of local volunteers who each year willingly give our time and expertise to deliver RYDA to our local school students."
"This National award is a fitting recognition of the dozens of Rotarians and community volunteers who help with RYDA every year. This includes local bus companies, the Moruya Jockey Club, driving schools, NSW Police, Eurobodalla Shire Council and the three Rotary clubs," he said.
Toyota has been working together with RSE since 2010. You can read more about Toyota and Road Safety Education's partnership here.