Media Release

Road Safety Education Programme RYDA Reaches New Zealand Driving Age

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  • Flagship Road Safety Education programme, RYDA celebrates its 16th Birthday in New Zealand.
  • Long-standing programme continues to empower young drivers and passengers to make smart decisions on the roads and contribute to road safety outcomes.
  • RYDA has benefited the lives of more than 90,000 NZ students since its inception.

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (25 November, 2022) – Australia and New Zealand's leading road safety education programme, RYDA, has reached an iconic milestone, celebrating its 16th anniversary since launching in New Zealand – the same age as learner drivers can get behind the wheel.

As well as celebrating the traditional rite-of-passage age in New Zealand, RYDA also celebrates another iconic milestone this month, with the 21st anniversary of its inception in Australia.

RYDA is the flagship programme of Road Safety Education Limited (RSE) and has positively impacted the lives of more than 700,000 Australian and New Zealanders over its 21 years, including 91,280 students locally since expanding to New Zealand in 2006. 

CEO & Managing Director of Road Safety Education Limited, Terry Birss, says the contribution of the RYDA programme to society has been undeniable.

"We're proud of the significant difference the RYDA programme has made to the safety of young drivers on New Zealand roads over the past 16 years through the empowerment of young drivers and passengers," Mr Birss said.

"Our original cohort of New Zealand RYDA participants are now in their mid-30s and I have no doubt that our focus on education through behavioural change and a focus on young driver and passengers' attitudes has played a role in reducing road trauma. I'm delighted with the growth of the RYDA programme and the reputation that it continues to build on."

Figures from the International Transport Forum's Road Safety Report 2019 for New Zealand show a reduction of fatalities on New Zealand roads of 23.8 per cent when comparing 2019 figures to 2000, despite nearly 70 per cent more registered vehicles on the road.

However, the figures also indicate some concerning trends as well, with the number of crashes resulting in injury and hospitalisations increasing, as well as a rise in motorcycle fatalities – highlighting the continued need for education into driving so others survive.

"While there is so much to celebrate in this milestone, it's also evident that there is still a long way to go to create safer roads for all road users. Programmes like RYDA challenge the mindset and behaviours of motorists and give them the tools they need to face the challenges on the road.  This is key to achieving the long-term goals in a sustainable manner that will not only impact today's road users, but future ones as well," Mr Birss added. 

As part of the RYDA programme, students participate in a workshop which features a series of sessions led by expert facilitators who address laws, distractions, risk management, social resilience, speed & stopping, mind state, impairment, vehicle safety and other critical road safety topics.

The programme targets school participation with the dedicated RYDA workshop day complemented by a series of resources that are designed to be integrated within the regular curriculum both before and after the workshop.

From humble beginnings as a Rotary project held in one location, RYDA now typically sees, at least 10,000 students take part each year across more than 100 workshop days run in New Zealand, involving more than 135 schools. RYDA workshops are supported throughout New Zealand by a dedicated team of volunteers primarily RSE's community partner, Rotary, and by corporate partners BOC, New Zealand Steel, Bridgestone and VTNZ.

Mina Howard, District Governor 2022-23, Rotary District 9685 (RYDA's founding district) says, "I'm very proud that Rotarians began this project. A Rotary project begins with an idea by someone who has seen a need and then grows into a successful and impactful program that touches more people than was ever imagined. It is wonderful to see that RYDA has evolved to the stage that 21 years later it is still helping thousands of young people to understand the importance of road safety. Congratulations and may the good work be celebrated for many years to come."

"As a founding partner, we're delighted to honour this wonderful achievement. The impact that RYDA has made on driver education across Australia and New Zealand has been immense and made a real difference to people's lives through driver safety, and we are proud to be involved with such an important program" John Evans, Managing Director, BOC South Pacific.

New Zealand Steel's Chief Executive Robin Davies congratulated the team at RYDA and the many volunteers involved for their dedication and commitment to delivering such a practical and powerful programme over the past 16 years. "Safety on the roads is something we all share, and we feel very proud to be a founding sponsor of a programme that is dedicated to saving lives and improving road safety."

Bridgestone's Director of New Zealand Business, John Staples, congratulated RYDA on the milestone.

"The RYDA programme is so successful because of the dedication RYDA has to achieving its objectives, and contributing to the goal of preventing road trauma, and we're proud to be able to join with Road Safety Education Limited in celebrating this iconic milestone. Since first partnering with the programme in 2016, we understood the incredible difference this programme makes to the lives of young motorists and passengers and we're proud to contribute to the incredible work being undertaken in making our roads safer for generations to come," Mr Staples said.

VTNZ Country Manager Greg O'Connor says supporting the RYDA programme and seeing the team in action with teenagers has been one of the highlights of his year.

"It's crucial that we positively influence teenagers before they get their licence -or as early as we can into the licencing process - because we know that young drivers need the most support when they move to their NZ Restricted Licence. During the practical testing process, we ensure drivers understand the road code and can competently and safely handle their vehicle. Organisations such as RYDA prepare young drivers for the added responsibilities of more freedom and carrying passengers by teaching them strategies to help with peer pressure and making good decisions."

"VTNZ is all about driver and vehicle safety and we are pleased to support a programme such as RYDA that does such great work helping keep our drivers and roads as safe as possible," said Greg O'Connor.

"There are young people alive today and free of injury because of RYDA and our partners" Mr Birss added. 


About Bridgestone New Zealand Ltd.

Bridgestone is a global leader in tyres and rubber, and is building on its expertise to provide solutions for safe and sustainable mobility. In New Zealand, Bridgestone New Zealand Ltd. offers a range of services and solutions to all segments of the New Zealand market to deliver social value and customer value. Bridgestone’s extensive range of quality tyres is complemented by the provision of mechanical and fleet services through the company’s nationwide retail network of Bridgestone Select and Bridgestone Tyre Centres, and sale of quality Australian manufactured retreads through Bandag Pty Limited. Bridgestone offers a diverse product portfolio of premium tyres and advanced solutions backed by innovative technologies, improving the way people around the world move, live, work and play.