St Mary’s High School, Casino, school captains Scout Symons,16 (middle) and Sean McCarthy,17 (right) with school principal Aaron Beach near one of the many student cars driven to school daily.
St Mary’s High School, Casino, school captains Scout Symons,16 (middle) and Sean McCarthy,17 (right) with school principal Aaron Beach near one of the many student cars driven to school daily. Jacklyn Wagner

Students say young drivers need reality check

THE risks of driving must be made real before there is any hope of reducing the death toll of young people on our roads, said St Mary's High School captains Sean McCarthy and Scout Symons.

Learning to drive was the beginning of independence, said Sean, 17, who holds a provisional driver's licence.

“It's about freedom, especially in a country town,” he said.

However, young drivers failed to realise that other people's lives were in their hands when they got behind the wheel, he said.

“It is not until there is an accident that you have time to reflect and understand,” he said. “At this age we all think we are invincible.”

Scout, 16 and a learner driver, said she thought young people should be made more aware of the dangers of road accidents by learning about risk-taking behaviour.

Learning about risk through personal stories and role-play would be the best way to teach young people, Scout said.

Yesterday, National's leader Andrew Stoner said a Liberal-National Government would incorporate driver education into the NSW school curriculum by highlighting the terrible consequences of irresponsible driving.

Participation from accident victims, families and emergency services workers, and the use of graphic images would form the basis of a compulsory driver education school program.

Mr Stoner criticised the State Government for imposing stricter penalties on young drivers and said the answer was to appeal to young people's psyches.

St Mary's High School principal Aaron Beach agreed that such strategies worked but said to put something new into the curriculum meant taking something out.

Mr Beach said driver safety training could be part of the school's end of year activities.



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