The road safety message hit home for Corowa, Rutherglen and St Paul’s High School students and members of the community attending the recent Cool Heads program.
The highly successful program was presented on Tuesday, March 20 at the Rutherglen Memorial Hall to an audience of about 120, with students leaving the presentation realising that road accidents have far reaching effects.
Debbie Filliponi, who is on the welfare committee at Corowa High School, said the program came about seven years ago after Rutherglen Police saw a need to promote more awareness of road safety among the many students who are learning to drive.
“We build on this presentation every year and have great guest speakers who really drive the road safety message home,” she said.
The consequences of road trauma were highlighted to students through the personal experiences shared with them by guest speakers from Beechworth Correctional Centre.
“It’s important that students hear first-hand the consequences and realise that road accidents carry consequences from police and 20 years can be the penalty for culpable driving,” Debbie said.
“We also have police here to speak and show some horrific photos from car crashes with the intent to hit home the reality.
“We have a school counsellor come along who is there for the students post presentation because there are some examples used in the presentation that are from the community including Brooke Richardson who was an ex-Corowa High School student.”
The road safety message was further impressed upon the young drivers with personal accounts from emergency service workers, a car accident survivor and Vicki Richardson, whose daughter was killed in a crash while texting.
Local woman Rosalia Cikaitoga gave an emotional and gut-wrenching account of her experience when she hit oncoming traffic after the sun got in her eyes while driving at Wooragee about five years ago, killing another driver and seriously injuring herself.
Rosalia recovered from her injuries but she still suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety.
The presentation had an obvious impact on those attending.
“Loved it and I think everyone that drives needs to hear it”, “Very detailed – need more of these”, “Very real; great way to educate youth on the consequences”, “Amazing, thankyou”, were just some of the many comments made by the students.
The Cool Heads committee were extremely fortunate to have the assistance of many community groups and businesses and would like to sincerely thank them for the part they played.
The presentation was proudly supported by Federation Council, Indigo Shire Council, Rutherglen Neighbourhood Watch, the Don’t Txt’n’Drive Foundation, Canns and Jaspers bus lines, Transport NSW, Complete Body Craft, Arts Rutherglen, Rutherglen Police and Corowa and Rutherglen High Schools.
The committee also extend their thanks to the presenters for sharing their personal stories.
Preparations are already underway for next year’s Cool Heads presentation.
The committee plans to ensure that all new young drivers are made aware of the far reaching effects a car accident can have on those involved.