by Amber Macpherson
ONE distracted second on the road is all it takes to change a life, or lives, forever.
That was the message being driven home to Sunshine Beach Year 11 students as they took part in the Rotary Youth Driver Awareness program on Wednesday.
The one-day course taught about 160 students the harsh realities of road safety through a number of interactive workshops aimed at reducing the statistics of death and injury linked to young drivers.
Teacher Karen Brumell said Sunshine Beach students had been attending the free course for a number of years, taking on the crucial advice the program offered.
"This is one of the best programs we bring to our kids. It's a great day," Ms Brumell said.
"I've been attending the RYDA days with students for six years, and every year I go away with something new that I've learnt."
After watching a dummy topple from being hit by a speeding car, one student expressed her reaction to the braking and stopping distance demonstration.
"It was really intense," she said.
Ms Brumell said she hoped students would heed the practical advice being offered, something a former student neglected to do and was now paying the price.
"We had a student, she graduated years ago, she did this day with us," Ms Brumell said.
"Three months after grade 12 she had an accident and now she's facing jail time.
"She said 'I went to these things (RYDA program) and thought it would never happen to me'.
"All it takes is a few seconds, and that's it. It's not just about you, it's everyone on the road around you."
Rotary Noosa club president Tess Alexandroff said the program was funded by the government so as many students as possible have the chance to participate.
"The program is offered through the schools to Year 11 and 12 students and it's free," she said.
"The Department of Transport and Main Roads puts up the money. It's of no cost to the school."