This car crashed into a medical clinic.
This car crashed into a medical clinic. Patrick Woods

Licencing system a constant green light to incompetence

MANDATORY driver training isn't designed to line the pockets of educators. It's about saving lives and road users from injury.

Roadcraft driver educators are a not-for-profit organisation and has lobbied to implement a national training program.

"People have a false sense of security. They think because they have been driving for a long time they are safe. You don't know what you don't know,” Roadcraft chief executive officer Sharlene Makin said.

"When people come here we ask them to rate themselves as a driver from 1-10, some of them put 11.

"Then they rate themselves again at the end with some very different results.”

Echoing concerns that a compulsory system would create an influx of self-created experts, Roadcraft advocates a strict system of operation and is currently working with other organisations to lay an education foundation formula.

Its proposal is for an overhaul akin to when modern schooling was introduced more than 200 years ago.

"Our biggest fear is cowboys,” Makin said.

"We support the notion that building a skid pan and bad driver training creates hoons.

"We teach a different model. We put a huge level of investment into our driver educators.

"The easy part is building the facility. The hard part is training the educators.

"The Roadcraft curriculum achieves a shift in attitude to risk acceptance. I can guarantee by the end of two days with us everyone is in awe of what they have learned.”

A car crashed through a fence and over the cliff at Point Arkwright.
A car crashed through a fence and over the cliff at Point Arkwright. Patrick Woods

State automotive body RACQ supports calls to improve skills behind the wheel.

"We encourage all drivers to improve their skills by undertaking appropriate training courses that have content matched to their experience, skills and needs,” RACQ spokesperson Clare Hunter said.

"It's also worth remembering your ability to drive can be impacted as you get older, for example your perception, judgment and physical capability can change with time - increasing your risk of a crash.”

RACQ has also created an older driver self-assessment questionnaire.

It covers a range of issues related to safe driving and then provides a score based on responses.

During June, an inquiry into the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020 - which aimed "to elevate Australia's road safety ambitions through the coming decade and beyond” - was presented.

It revealed 1226 people were killed in Australian road crashes in 2017 and our safety performance had "stalled”.

"Failing to improve our current situation will result in 12,000 people killed and 360,000 admitted to hospital at a cost of over $300 billion over the next decade alone. We must act on a scale that matters, with a disaster response that reflects the true measure of the problem. Lives depend on it,” the report said.

A crash on understood to have taken place after a car crashed into a stationary vehicle.
A crash on understood to have taken place after a car crashed into a stationary vehicle. Patrick Woods

Among the recommendations were a $3 billion-a-year fund to improve road safety and establish a long-term 2050 target to achieve zero fatalities.

One of the key actions included "road safety skills training embedded in tertiary undergraduate courses”.

Analyse the 'Fatal 5' road safety campaign which is said to be the biggest contributors to road trauma and driver skill is absent - it focuses on speed, alcohol and drugs, fatigue, not wearing a seatbelt and driver distraction.

RATE YOURSELF

How many people confess to be a poor driver?

Yet driver educators estimate the majority of people have below par skills.

Most agree, the hardest to teach are middle-aged males.

Roadcraft chief executive officer Sharlene Makin said there are two things blokes will never reveal they're bad at - one of them is driving, the other "we are not going to discuss here”.



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