Young Drivers Want Compulsory Defensive Driver Training

Media announcement – October 14, 2009

Don Campus Students Complete a One Day Defensive Driving Course with Driver Skills Australia – Latrobe, Tasmania

On Monday October 12 at the Bendigo Bank Arena (Latrobe Speedway) eight students and three teachers completed a one day Defensive Driving Course with Driver Skills Australia.

The young drivers that completed the course commented that the course should be made compulsory. Many of them also commented that they would like the course to be run over two days to allow more time for practice.

Dayna Broun who is the Don Campus MAIB Road Safety Project Manager said “This is a great course for both young and old drivers. It teaches you a perfect mix between having the right attitude to drive safely and knowing how to handle your car safely. Highly recommended.”

The course commenced with a theory session that covered a range of information on driving, road laws, vehicle safety features and risks associated with driving.

After a short break for lunch the team then moved outside to learn about what is under the bonnet and how to sit safely in the car. It was then time for some driving tests.

The first session was about understanding a cars braking system and how to safely stop the car. The road surface was wet and with a variety of cars and drivers with different experience levels it was a great chance for everyone to learn about the many variables effecting stopping distance.

“The first few attempts by each driver were interesting as many drivers had little or no idea how to actually stop the car in an emergency on a wet road. With a briefing session and some coaching soon drivers were demonstrating a good standard of car control and were able to stop the car safely. This basic skill may one day help these young drivers avoid a crash” said Driver Skills Australia director Mark Butcher.

After each driver had gained some practice stopping the car in a straight line, drivers discussed how using defensive driving techniques like looking ahead and slowing down could prevent having to use this skill on the road.

Drivers next practiced a slow speed obstacle avoidance exercise. This highlighted the limitations of some of the vehicles and how by slowing down control of the car can be maintained.

Two local Tasmanian Police officers attended the course and weren’t afraid to have some practice. “Its really great to see the support from the local Police. These officers often have to deal with serious road crashes and this was an opportunity for them to come and work with some young drivers on basic knowledge and skills. I personally wish we could see more pro-active safety efforts from the Government and Road Safety bodies as the drivers on the course all responded well to the training and have given some great feedback “including many suggesting it should be made compulsory” said Mark Butcher.

The Don Campus are now considering running an on-going program in 2010 and it is hoped that many other colleges and high schools also get on-board. Any organisations interested in sponsoring this program should contact Mark at Driver Skills Australia.

Driver Skills Australia would like to thank the friendly people from Bendigo Bank Arena and Elite Crash Repairs for providing a venue for the training.

For more information on Driver Skills Australia you can visit www.driverskillsaustralia.com.

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