Thousands of high school students will hear about the importance of sensible driving at the Rotorua Road Safety Youth Expo this week.
The free sessions aim to change attitudes and improve choices of Year 11s who will soon start learning to drive.
Held at the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre, the event is a joint effort by the Rotorua Lakes Council, New Zealand Fire Service, Rotary, St John and Students Against Dangerous Driving.
Rotorua Lakes Council road safety coordinator Jodie Lawson said 1500 students would be attending sessions during the course of the week.
"We're trying to make them see the reality of the consequences. Most of our teenagers think they are bulletproof. So in an interactive way, we're trying to get our message through - hopefully loud and clear."
She said her team had been using social media to share photos of the event with students in an attempt to reinforce the safety message.
According to Mrs Lawson, recent NZ Transport Agency statistics identify Rotorua as a "community at risk", with a high number of accidents involving younger drivers.
"There are good nice kids making dumb choices ... we're trying to make them see that a dumb choice doesn't just affect them," she said.
Mrs Lawson hoped that in future road safety lessons could be "embedded in the classroom and the curriculum".
Speakers at the expo included a Hawke's Bay mother whose son survived a car crash involving drunk teenagers, and an ambulance driver experienced in dealing with road accidents.
In an atrium off the main hall, fire service volunteer Lynette Galvan staffed an information booth that warned of the risks of texting and driving.
It was a danger she knew about all too well.
Her husband was killed in January 2011 while texting and driving when his truck-trailer overturned crossing the centre line.
She said it was more of a risk than some people realised.
"Within a few metres, with their eyes off the road they can cause the death of themselves and others. Smart phones are more dangerous than they ever were," she said.
She did not want young drivers to repeat her husband's tragic mistake.
"It's an educational thing and I'm more than happy to do it if I can save one."
Rotorua Lakes High School Year 11 students Carlos Collier and Krista Taylor, both 15, said safety information at the expo had been "stuff we already knew", but that it was still helpful. "You think you're sweet as, but it can happen to anybody,' Krista said.