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Byron Shire
February 27, 2021

Firefighter speaks up over NYE tragedy

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In response to the death of a young driver on New Year’s Eve, a local firefighter implores young drivers, parents and community to work together to keep young drivers safe.

On New Year’s Eve, Phil Preston from Mullumbimby Fire Brigade was called to a motor vehicle accident in which a young local man lost his life. In the midst of the tragedy I thought to myself: There is so much we can do to prevent these accidents from occurring. As much as assisting at fires and accidents is part of a firefighter’s job, another part is community education and preventing them from happening in the first place.

Research has shown young drivers who attend driver education programs have a 44 per cent reduced risk of having an accident. Phil has been helping deliver the FRNSW ‘RescuEd’ road safety program to local Year 10 high school students and recently attended the RRISK road safety presentation for Year 11 students. ‘There are so many great resources and amazing people working to keep young people safe on the roads. We need to do more to make sure young people are getting the message.’

On New Year’s Day Phil was saddened to hear the young man in the accident was a mate’s son. He resolved to do all he can to increase the safety of young people on the roads. ‘As a start there are three things I recommend all young people do before they drive on their own. They are free and can almost halve their chance of having an accident:

‘1. in Year 10 attend the FRNSW ‘RescuEd’ road safety presentation;

‘2. get a free “keys2drive” driving lesson with an accredited instructor;

‘3. in Year 11 attend the RRISK road safety presentation.’

Phil has initiated a project to increase the safe transport options for young people in Byron Shire. ‘Community support and involvement is crucial to our success. I want to bring together young people, their parents and carers, schools, businesses, organisations, councils and government and work together to increase the safety of young people on the roads.’

For more information about the project please contact Phil on 0414 809 330 or email [email protected].


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