The Road Ahead : June 2013
ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 12 THE ROAD AHEAD JUN/JUL 2013 COMMUNITY | FEATURE THEY ARE PLEDGES that would warm any parent's heart -- 'I promise not to drink and drive', 'I promise not to get in a car with a drunk driver', 'I will think about all my decisions before I act' and 'I promise not to text while driving'. But the motivation behind these pledges is a lot less heart-warming, as students from St Peters Lutheran College took a sobering look at the consequences of bad choices through the RACQ sponsored Prevent Alcohol and Risk-related Trauma in Youth (P.A.R.T.Y) Program conducted by Brisbane's Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital (RBWH). The pledges are made in the final session of P.A.R.T.Y after the students come face-to-face with trauma patients, their families and the staff who care for them. The program takes the students on a tour of the hospital's Intensive Care Ward, Emergency Department and Orthopaedic Trauma Ward and intersperses video presentations and talks by real-life victims of road trauma to convey the potential reality of one bad decision. According to Jodie Ross, P.A.R.T.Y Trauma Nurse, it's this real-life approach that helps the road safety messages hit home to the young participants and hopefully help to reduce road death and injuries among their age group. STUDENTS SHARE THEIR SAFETY PLEDGES AFTER EXPERIENCING THE REAL LIFE EFFECTS OF POOR DRIVING DECISIONS. STORY BELINDA PETERS I PHOTOS STU RILEY prevention is the best cure TO EXPERIENCE THE P.A.R.T.Y PROGRAM AND HEAR WHAT STUDENTS FROM ST PETERS LUTHERAN COLLEGE LEARNT DURING THE FULL-DAY PROGRAM, VIEW THE P.A.R.T.Y VIDEO AT YOUTUBE.COM/RACQOFFICIAL. "We are real life here; this is the stuff that as a trauma nurse I see every day. I think it's a huge thing for them to see that it's not a TV show, it can be real and by meeting a real patient, it's not a fairytale -- it really could happen to them at their age," Ms Ross said. Continuing with giving students a real feel for the subject matter, participants put on 'Fatal Vision beer goggles', which mimic the effects of alcohol, and perform simple activities. Student Hazel Sun, who pledged not to drink and drive, found this to be one of the most memorable parts of the day. "The vision goggles really impacted me and my ability to walk in a straight line and I'm scared that if I was behind the wheel it could have been so much worse," Hazel said. Students also experience what it's like to live with a permanent injury by wearing neck braces and having arms tied to simulate losing a limb. Isaac Pressey, who promised to throw a would-be drunk driver's keys down the drain, found this activity helped him arrive at his drastic pledge. "When we had to put the braces on, you can really see what could happen," he said. "Everyone wants to have fun, but you can't let them drive," Isaac said. Sabrina Akl, who also promised not to get in a car with a drink driver, found the mix of content throughout the day helped her to arrive at her pledge. "Seeing the videos and all the outcomes of what people have been through has made me come away from this experience knowing not to take risks. Now I'll be more aware," Sabrina said. ... Prevent Alcohol and Risk-related Trauma in Youth (P.A.R.T.Y) MESSAGE OF SUPPORT FROM RACQ GROUP CEO, IAN GILLESPIE According to RACQ Group CEO Ian Gillespie, the increased awareness of road safety is why RACQ is proud to support the P.A.R.T.Y Program. "The P.A.R.T.Y Program delivers a powerful road safety message to young people at a critical time in their lives -- before they learn to drive," Mr Gillespie said. "To help the program reach more students around the state, the RACQ has pledged to increase its support of the P.A.R.T.Y Program to $100,000 a year for the next three years." RACQ's support helps the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital (RBWH) Foundation keep this program free for the students who attend. Readers who'd like to support the P.A.R.T.Y program, can donate to the RBWH Foundation by visiting rbwhfoundation.com.au.