The new year is off to a horror start, with the Territory's road toll already standing at eight for 2024, including four people killed in a crash on the Roper Highway between Mataranka and Ngukurr earlier this month.
In a bid to give those involved in a serious car crash a better chance at survival and recovery, St John NT Director Ambulance Services Andrew Thomas has thrown his support behind a call for Australians to know how to perform vital first aid at the scene of a crash or roadside emergency.
A national survey by St John Ambulance recently found that four in five Australian adults (78 per cent) were supportive of equipping young people with basic first aid skills as part of achieving their driving permits.
"Anyone of us could become a bystander to a collision or other emergency when we are travelling as a driver or passenger," St John CEO Brendan Maher said.
"Knowing how to keep calm, get help and perform basic first aid interventions, while waiting for an ambulance, is an important set of skills that can reduce someone's injuries or save a life."
St John NT is supporting driver education in the Northern Territory through its free online driver first aid course, offered as part of the DriveSafe NT program.
"The last thing our paramedics want is to arrive on the scene of an accident where another family has lost a loved one," Mr Thomas said.
"Young drivers are overrepresented in our road toll statistics, instead of encouraging young drivers to participate in these schemes it should be mandatory.
"By equipping our young drivers now, we are setting them up for long-term generational change in first aid and road safety."
The national survey also found:
- Women are more likely than men to think learner drivers should be equipped with training in basic first aid skills (81% compared to 75%).
- Millennials are around twice as likely as Gen Z, Gen X or Baby Boomers to think this is unnecessary (20% compared to 12%, 9% and 12% respectively).
- Australians who have children under 18 in the household are more likely than those who don't to think learner drivers should be equipped with training in basic first aid skills (83% compared to 77%).
- Less than half (41%) of drivers claim that they typically carry an adequately stocked first aid kit when driving.
St John's free Learner Driver First Aid e-Learning course is available at www.driverfirstaid.org.au.
While geared towards young people, the course content is available and relevant to anyone and is included the NT Government DriveSafe package.