Students Pushing for ‘Safer Speeds’

Tristan Cotterill

Young people speaking to young people: Road safety education campaigns, taking a new approach to encouraging young Australian drivers to choose safer speeds, launched across Australia today.

Created as part of the Re:act road safety behaviour change program, the campaigns were devised by young Australian road users to encourage their driving peers to choose speeds that were safe and appropriate for the road conditions and situation as well as adhering to posted speed limits.

Re:act challenges communication and graphic design students to raise awareness among 17-25 year olds of road safety risks and to change behaviour.

“The 2023 topic was a challenging brief for students,” Re:act CEO and founder Andrew Hardwick said. “We asked them to create campaigns that went beyond a traditional ‘slow down’ message, educating drivers that speed limits are set for the safety of all road users and should be adhered to, and that road and weather conditions need to be considered when choosing your speed. The Re:act program is a unique collaboration. Without the commitment of Universities and TAFEs, industry, government, and our media partner, this critical experience of the students and the vision of the broader public seeing and being influenced by the thoughts and ideas of young minds would just not be possible”.

Now in its eighth year, more than 1,000 students have completed the curriculum-based Re:act program, which has raised awareness and changed behaviours of participating students, their own networks, other young people, and the broader community.

Thanks to oOh!media, Re:act’s national Australian media partner, almost 24 million Australians have seen students’ campaigns.

“As the largest out-of-home company in Australia, we’re proud to play our part in promoting road safety campaigns across our network,” said Michael Cali, oOh!media group director – road, street and rail. “Re:act in particular, where upcoming students utilise their skills to talk to and inform their peer groups about the importance of road safety, is such a meaningful initiative on a number of levels, not least reaching a cohort of young, less experienced drivers to reduce risk and therefore potential harm whilst on our roads.”

Liz Waller, head of road safety for Transurban, who has been supporting the Re:act program since it began in 2016, added: “We know that young people are over-represented in road trauma statistics, and that’s why the Re:act program is so important – students have the opportunity to create campaigns that resonate with their peers and ultimately change behaviour.”

The campaigns will run across Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide in August and September.

Since 2016, the annual Re:act road safety behaviour change program has increased awareness, built knowledge and changed behaviour of drivers and other young road users as well as their personal and professional networks.

The program challenges university and college students to raise awareness of road and workplace safety issues and change behaviour among their peers. Its purpose is to engage and bring together a collaboration of industry, government, higher education institutions and students, to inspire positive outcomes

A local panel of higher education, road safety, workplace safety and industry partners selects the most compelling road safety campaign in each jurisdiction, which is then developed and launched on university and college campuses and out-of-home media partner digital assets.

Globally, 11 Re:act programs will run in 2023 across Australia, Chile, and the US.

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