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Toyota NZ announces support for road safety education programme

Toyota New Zealand has announced it will provide an important funding boost to the Road Safety Education Limited RYDA programme, to support the programme’s goal to save lives by providing world-class road safety education to Kiwi rangatahi (young people).

RYDA provides a ‘whole of school’ approach through an engaging and memorable workshop supported by online learning and classroom resources to high school students throughout the nation. There are over 650 RYDA participating schools throughout Australia and New Zealand and 750,000 students have attended RYDA over the last 21 years.

The three-year partnership will see Toyota NZ provide $225,000 in funding to support RYDA’s school education programmes, as well as providing four Toyota Corolla Cross hybrids for use by the RYDA team throughout New Zealand.

Toyota New Zealand Marketing Vice President, Andrew Davis, says the programme is already making a tangible impact to New Zealand communities by contributing to a reduction in deaths and serious injuries on New Zealand’s roads, with a particular focus on rangatahi.

“Young drivers aged between 16 and 24 are at far greater risk of being involved in fatal or serious injury crashes. Over the past 10 years, around 7,000 young people aged 16-24 were killed or seriously injured on our roads,” says Andrew.

“The economic cost of road crashes is huge – amounting to $4.9 million* annually for New Zealand. That pales in significance to the huge human cost – lost loved ones, friends, parents, and children.”

Andrew highlights that Toyota NZ’s goal through supporting RYDA is to accelerate national progress in reducing road deaths, and the partnership formed an important component of its commitment to supporting local communities.

“This is a pathway that Toyota has been nurturing for decades, whether it be through direct community support, such as with RYDA, or through the development of technologies that improve safety for drivers, occupants, and pedestrians.”

“We have the capability to help drive positive change for Aotearoa New Zealand, to develop a transport ecosystem that’s safe and accessible to everyone. Our community is all of Aotearoa: we always focus on how we can make a positive social impact through our operations.” he adds.

“We have always had deep roots in our local communities – through our Toyota Stores, through our larger partnerships, such as our support for Paralympics New Zealand, and through direct community projects such as RYDA.”

“We wholeheartedly support the aspirations of the Government’s Road to Zero programme, for which the ultimate vision is a New Zealand where no one is killed or seriously injured on our roads. Young people are over-represented in road fatalities, and such deaths impact the entire community. Involvement in community initiatives such as RYDA provide a tangible difference and present a brighter future for our rangatahi,” he says.

Road Safety Education Limited New Zealand General Manager, Maria Lovelock says that the organisation is excited to commence its work with Toyota NZ through the RYDA programme.

“Together, Toyota NZ and Road Safety Education Limited are contributing to a reduction in deaths and serious injuries on our roads, especially focused on youth,” says Maria.

“Getting behind the wheel of a car as a young driver or being a young passenger with a novice driver is said to be among the most dangerous things that a person will do in their life. Despite making up less than 12% of NZ’s licence holders, drivers 16-25 years were found to be primarily responsible for 33% of crashes resulting in deaths or serious injury.

“Our goal is to eventually reach every Year 12 student in NZ with the RYDA programme, and then to take it even further – to go more in-depth with students and their whānau and create even better outcomes. Our ultimate goal is to reduce the number of road deaths in young people to zero.” she adds.

The Road Safety Education Limited New Zealand RYDA programme is Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency approved and runs at more than 150 high schools in New Zealand, reaching over 10,000 students annually. 

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