It was a fatal crash that sent shockwaves through the community.
On October 24, 2016 a car driven by 15-year-old Newport boy Luke Lee crashed in West Sunshine, killing him and injuring his four passengers aged 13-17.
One of them, 15-year-old Billie Lea Harris, of Doreen, wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and was left facing 12 months of treatment. A crowdfunding page has been set up for her in a bid to raise $50,000.
It’s teenagers like these that the Fit2Drive program is trying to reach and influence.
Leigh Hardinge is president of the Fit2Drive Foundation which holds peer-led workshops for year 11 students and other programs for people aged 16-25.
The program started with 18 schools in 2000 and now has more than 150 participating.
Mr Hardinge, an SES founding member who has s een the aftermath of hundreds of crashes, said there was no judgement or scare tactics, just facts to get young people thinking about their choices.
“A lot of people get wrapped up in the road toll,” he said. “The toll is a tragic situation, but people very very rarely talk about very serious injuries where people are either maimed or have acquired brain injury for the rest of their lives.
“It’s terrible; you’re going to have to have carers for the rest of your life.
“It must be an awful shock, particularly if they still have reasonable thoughts and mind function, but mechanically they’re locked in a wheelchair.
“And these are the things we try to share. We don’t believe in traumatising youngsters as to what can be the end result.
“We try to share with them scenarios that are based on fact.”
Mr Hardinge said one of the biggest contributors to road trauma among young people was distraction.
“Whether it be texting, whether it be mobile phone conversations, whether it be conversations within the car, with all the other traffic and everything else that’s around the place, it’s an invitation for a tragic outcome,” he said. “We used to be all [focused] towards the young drivers, but it’s now road users.
“We look at the road users as a whole … pedestrians, passengers or drivers. They all come under a regime of … you’ve got to be prepared to do the right thing, be safe and think of your family and friends.”
Fit2Drive has introduced a LegitiMATE Moves program for people aged 15-18 who have offended.
“We’re not there to tell them about the rights and wrongs of what they’ve been doing: It’s just to give them some options to work with,” Mr Hardinge said.