Story: Eve Jeffery
Phil Preston had two good reasons to found STEER, a youth safe-driving project.
One was his experiences as a fire and rescue worker; the other was when his son received his P plates.
‘My son Josh turning 17 was a big thing. That and my work doing community education with the firies is initially what brought all this about’.
STEER is an acronym and it aims to provide: Support, Teamwork, Education, Experience and Rewards by encouraging youth to make safe transport and reducing their risk of having a car crash by 50 per cent.
He says there are four steps for parents and kids to be aware of to ensure safer driving.
Local high schools offer year 10 students a FRNSW/Project U Turn road safety workshop, while year 11 students can attend the RRISK road safety presentation.
Also parents and their learner-driver offspring should take the free driving lesson in the government-funded Keys2drive, a driving and support program for young drivers, their parents and instructors.
Finally all young drivers should get a free NRMA membership for 16–20-year-olds through its Free2Go program.
Something Phil also hopes to have up and running in the next few weeks is a local Avego Shout system.
Avego Shout is a real-time ride-sharing iPhone application where drivers can send out a message to all users of their intention to travel from point A to point B and passengers can send back a message to be picked up en route.
Phil is hoping the community can get behind him to make youth driving safer.
His wish list includes project supporters and sponsors to contribute funds and goods and services; web developers, logo and branding, and rewards for youth with things like cinema passes, mobile phone credit, event tickets – BluesFest/Splendour/Woodford – as well as safe vehicle inspections and discount insurance.
‘The success of any project like this begins with the people.
‘We need to make some good connections and we need businesses to get on board with the program by offering support and rewards as incentives for young drivers to attend education programs.’
Anyone wanting to contact Phil about STEER can visit the website www.steerproject.org.au [http:// www.steerproject.org.au] or the STEER Facebook page.