Tony Quinn Foundation partners with Driver’s Education programme Street Smart

The Tony Quinn Foundation, Road Safety, will provide a $750,000 three-year support package to partner and fund the driver education programme Street Smart.

Road crashes continue to be a grim reality for young drivers in New Zealand, claiming lives and causing injuries. Drivers under the age of 25 were found primarily responsible for over 3000 crashes in 2022 alone, claiming the lives of 93 people and injuring over 4000 more, 636 of those seriously.

Since 2020, 351 individuals under 25 years of age have died on New Zealand roads. Among them was seventeen- year-old Kelan Stroud, who was killed in a devastating three-vehicle accident in the Cromwell Gorge this past March.

Stroud had held his restricted license for just one month.

In the wake of this tragedy, the Stroud family made a courageous decision: Kelan’s death would not be just another statistic. They reached out to Josie Spillane, Group CEO of Tony Quinn’s Motorsport Park’s in New Zealand which includes Highlands in Cromwell, to launch a Give A Little Campaign to support young drivers through practical education and experience.

Since then, over $20,000 has been raised from over 300 generous businesses and individuals to fund the course.

Spillane, who is also a trustee of the Tony Quinn Foundation, expressed the gravity of Kelan’s passing: “Cromwell was deeply affected by this tragedy. We were humbled to be entrusted by Kelan’s family to honour his memory and provide a meaningful experience for local youth. As parents ourselves, we recognise that the Stroud’s grief could have struck any of us.”

But the commitment to saving lives didn’t stop there. Quinn was adamant that it was time to move the needle on road deaths in New Zealand.
The founder of Highlands Motorsport Park and owner of Taupo Motorsport Park and Hampton Downs rallied a team of passionate individuals to help him take action.
Alongside Quinn and Spillane, Supercars CEO Shane Howard, and Street Smart Trustee Greg Murphy he forged a partnership that will make a life-saving difference in New Zealand.

Quinn emphasised the urgency of addressing the statistics: “Young drivers are vulnerable on New Zealand roads. Life can change in an instant when you’re behind the wheel. We must better equip our youth to handle any situation they encounter.

“That’s why we’re partnering with Street Smart, a programme designed to impart crucial learnings to New Zealand’s most inexperienced drivers. It will save lives.
“We’re privileged to share Kelan’s legacy with his family, which will be long-lasting in saving the lives of young Kiwis on New Zealand roads. His memory will also live on with his story incorporated into every Tony Quinn Foundation Street Smart delivery at Highlands.”

Since its launch in 2018, over 2000 young drivers have completed the practical, hands-on, cognitive-based driver programme. The challenging economic environment forced the not-for-profit Charitable Trust to go into hibernation in March 2022.

Funding from the Tony Quinn Foundation will now see operations resume over school holiday periods, beginning on July 16th and 17th for local young drivers at Highlands Motorsport Park, using the funds raised by Stroud’s Givealittle page.

Twenty-eight kids and their caregivers will have the chance to go through each day at a heavily subsidised price of $149.

Supercars have come on board with additional support, with the programme to involve drivers and teams throughout the year to elevate awareness.

Supercars CEO Shane Howard said: “We are immensely honoured to partner with the Tony Quinn Foundation to save Kiwi kids’ lives on local roads and continue to promote important driver education programmes.

“Our commitment to New Zealand goes beyond our annual event in Taupo, and initiatives of this nature are ones we are only too proud to support as a category to ensure road safety is a top priority.

Road safety advocate and Supercars icon Greg Murphy, a trustee of the Tony Quinn Foundation and Street Smart, recognises the support's significance.

“We’ve got very disturbing statistics with young drivers on the roads. These are our most vulnerable drivers, and the injury and death rates are horrible,” he said.
“Street Smart provides cognitive, hands-on learning in a controlled, safe environment to prepare them for what is actually out there. Many mistakes are simple, and these learnings will help them adapt to potential eventualities in the real world.

“We’re incredibly grateful to Tony for recognising this programme and the additional support young drivers need. He knows that this is a way he can invest in the future and change outcomes.”

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