Raising awareness of drink and drug driving amongst youth

STEER project Heywire

Byron Bay is a small coastal town in far north NSW. It has a reputation for a “hippy” culture, beautiful beaches, and as a place for young people to head to for schoolies and music festivals. All this means Byron Bay attracts a lot of tourists and young people looking for a good time, which can result in young people choosing unsafe transport options when they are ready to head home. 

In the five-years between 2005-2010, there were 1,367 reported car crashes in the Byron Bay Shire. Of those reported incidents, drugs and alcohol were found to be a factor in 8% of all crashes; 110 in total. From the 110 incidents, 81 people lost their lives and seven people were injured. 

A youth transport forum run by the STEER Project in 2013 revealed the shocking fact that one third of Year 10 students had suffered a personal loss associated with a car crash, and other community forums about traffic safety were so well attended that there was standing room only.

Time for action

What the community needed was a youth group to step up and create real world solutions and education programs for young people, to stop this from happening. That is exactly what the STEER Project did.

Their solution was the Keys Please Kiosk (KPK). Young people were encouraged to hand in their car keys on their way in to festivals serving alcohol. They would then be breathalysed on their way out, and if they were not safe to drive, KPK would help them find an alternative method of transport home.

Initially, they found that people weren’t willing to hand over their keys, so they gave people the option to simply register with KPK on the way into festivals. STEER found that person to person contact was the most valuable way to stop people from driving under the influence, and with their presence and reputation growing, people are now more willing to handover their car keys for safe keeping.

The response to KPK is growing

A report from the 2014 Splendour in the Grass festival found that the KPK program stopped 500 drivers from getting on the road while inebriated, either waiting and get re-tested later or using alternative ways home.

Now, STEER has extended the program and they have a presence at Falls Festival, BluesFest, Bello Winter Music Festival, Splendour in the Grass, and Mullum Music Festival; and the results speak for themselves.

  • 92% of P plate drivers test over their limit
  • 90% of those intending to drive have been drinking alcohol
  • 65% of drivers have no idea of their BAC (Blood Alcohol Content)

The KPK program works hard to build trust through enjoyable person-to-person connections and they are achieving demonstrated results. Figures from their festival reports show that 100% of those intending to drive and testing over their limit intended to change their behaviour, and the verbatim feedback is also very positive:

  • “I used the same service last year”
  • “Love it – you should have this at more places”
  • “I’m doing this to show my daughter responsibility.”

They also run the kiosk at various local community and sporting events, and are available to come to private functions (weddings, birthdays etc) to ensure that everyone can get home safely.

Keeping supporters informed

Overall, the KPK’s have had an overwhelmingly positive reception from festival goers in their first few years of operation.

STEER organisers track the data recorded from the breath testing devices at each festival and conduct surveys. There are 14 STEER Voluntary Breath Testing Reports on their website, along with key statistics from the reports which shows a strong community need for this project to continue. 

Reports are produced with this data are loaded onto their website and shared ‘far and wide’ to spread the word.  STEER ensures that the Local Council is kept informed and provided with regular reports, as well as partners, sponsors and key supporters.

KPK’s are saving lives, and this is a concept that could be used nationally.

Privacy Policy

Website by CeRDI, in collaboration with JAW Communications and Twenty 20 Graphics