YOU CHOOSE wins National Road Safety Award

WORDS: Nicole Marino PHOTOGRAPHY Supplied

Gold Coast-based road safety organisation, YOU CHOOSE Youth Road Safety, has been awarded the National Road Safety Award for School Programs. Presented by Road Safety Minister Scott Buchholz at Parliament House Canberra.

Founded by Melissa and Peter McGuinness in 2017, YOU CHOOSE received the award for their unique and effective approach to educating youth about road safety.

Mr McGuinness said it was a shared honour to be recognised for the efforts whole communities put into spreading the YOU CHOOSE social movement throughout schools across Australia.

“YOU CHOOSE is Australia’s youth-led mission to change driving culture. It’s a genuine community-owned asset which uplifts every teen passenger and driver to protect their families and their communities from the preventable misery of youth road trauma,” Mr McGuinness said.

The National Road Safety Awards acknowledge the achievements of leading road safety stakeholders and provide an opportunity to formally recognise their commitment to improving road safety outcomes.

The awards establish new standards of excellence in the road safety field and act as a catalyst to increase road safety activities, as well as raise awareness about road safety generally and promote strategies that will assist to address road safety issues across all sectors.

It was December 2012 when Melissa and Peter’s son, Jordan Hayes McGuinness, died when he was speeding at 140km/h down the M1 under the influence of alcohol and cannabis and collided with a stationary vehicle on the side of the motorway, killing its four innocent occupants. Since then, Melissa and Peter have committed to engaging young people around Australia to save even one family from enduring what Jordan’s victims’ families have suffered.

“There are very few genuine accidents on the road, they are almost all the result of a choice someone has made. For Jordan, it was speeding under impairment, for others it might be showing off or driving distracted. A lack of intent, does not make a poor choice an accident,” Mr McGuinness said.

“YOU CHOOSE Youth Road Safety activates students’ hearts for social justice, by inspiring them to change their communities for the better through their choices as drivers and passengers.”

Whilst Melissa and Peter have shared the YOU CHOOSE messages of love, family and the empowerment of choice with more than 100 000 high school students around Australia over the years, their goal is to present to every high school in the country in order to permanently change our legacy driving culture from ‘luck’ to ‘accountability’.

“YOU CHOOSE presentations are designed for profoundly relatable cut-through to teenagers, who are challenged to take personal ownership of the mission into their friendship groups, school communities and families ,” Mr McGuinness said.

“This Australian Road Safety Award belongs to every student, every parent, every teacher, every police officer, every council road safety officer and every community advocate who  carries the YOU CHOOSE mission on their shoulders. Such national recognition tells us that every one of them is making a practical difference.”