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Journeys : October November 2009
Two out of three -- that's the score so far as the R ACT continues our long campaign to win political parties over to the concept of compulsory road safety education in all Tasmanian high schools. In the last edition of Motor News Jour neys, we reported that we had written to all three political parties, seeking their attitude towards the introduction of compulsory road safety education at secondary school level. In response, the Liberals and the Greens have committed themselves to such a move, while the response received from the current Labor Gover nment was not so clear-cut. Premier David Bartlett said he would 'continue to encourage' the use of the Road Risk Reduction program. This program is not compulsory. About one in three schools don't use it, which means that a young person's attitude to road Political leaders edge towards compulsory road safety education in secondary schools safety might depend on which school they went to. In our view, this is not acceptable. The Premier also said that he had asked senior ministers to report back to him with advice on options such as making driver training a fully-accredited TCE course and reviewing driver training. You can read the full respon ses from the leaders at our website, w w w.ract.com.au. These are some extracts: Letter from Will Hodgman, Leader of the Opposition ..."We will introduce compulsory driver education in Years 9 and 10, and completion of these courses will be a condition of a student getting a learner licence before they tur n 18." Letter from Tim Morris, Tasmanian Greens ..."The Road Risk Reduction Curriculum is ideally suited as a first step towards preparing a young person to commence developing skills to interact with, in all sorts of ways, the roads. The Tasmanian Greens believe that it should be a compulsory part of their secondary school education." Letter from David Bartlett, Premier. ..."We will continue to encourage our schools to implement the Road Risk Reduction resource and other, similarly rigorous, evidence-based programs to improve driver attitudes and behaviour." Well, we're not satisfied with 'encouragement' -- we won't give up our campaign until all three of our political parties commit to making pre-lear ner road safety education a compulsory part of the high school cur riculum. That's one important step -- in our view -- towards developing positive attitudes to road safety, at an early stage of a young person's driving career. George and Jennifer Chandler Windermere Sometimes there are real lifesaving advantages to your community if you are a member of the R ACT, a statewide motoring organisation that is committed to its members and to road safety. Many people who live in Launceston's semi-rural dormitory communities of Dilston, Winder mere, Swan Bay, Los Angelos and Rostella are members of the RACT. All access to Launceston or Georgetow n for these communities is via the East Tamar Highway, which is now part of the Auslink Network. Three years ago the Federal Gover nment gave money for a bypass of the above communities. We were delighted with this road safety initiative because, since we have lived in Windermere, seventeen people, including three neighbours, have been killed on the section of road to be bypassed. This section of the highway is notorious for frequent, persistent fog. Doctor's Hill is subject to icy conditions in winter. Our delight turned to conster nation when we found that access to the highway would be via two T-junctions. With great support from the local community the Dilston Bypass Safety Committee was formed and went to work attempting to get safer access to the highway. Support from the Launceston City Council was excellent, but after eleven months we had made no progress and it looked as if we had reached a stalemate. The R ACT initially came out against the T-junction s on safety grounds, then issued a statement of support for them. As long term members of the club, we requested a meeting and explanation for this change. At this meeting R ACT CEO Greg Goodman and Vince Taskunas, General Manager Public Policy and Lifesaving reasons to belong to the RACT Communications, came to appreciate and understand our concer ns. The R ACT was able to facilitate a meeting between members of the Bypass Safety Committee and DIER. From this point the situation progressed to where a compromise was reached between our Safety Committee, the Launceston City Council and DIER. The souther n T-junction now incorporates an underpass. The norther n junction rem ains a concer n but has been greatly improved from the original design and includes the installation of the latest high-tech equipment. No estimate can be made of the value of these changes, in terms of lives saved and injury and trauma prevented. The point is that without the commitment to road safety and flexibility of the R ACT executives, Greg Goodman and Vince Taskunas, two more black spots may well have been added to our road network. In our community October / November 09
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