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Journeys : Dec Jan 2010
Street-smart Opinion We asked: What do you think could be done to reduce the number of native animals killed on the roads? One thing I do know from northern Queensland, where they had a problem with tree kangaroos, they actually had overhead walkways for them, above the road. I try not to drive at dusk. Ben Gunn South Hobart There is no physical way of stopping it, there are always going to be animals and there are always going to be high- speed cars. Maybe little tunnels? Courte nay Guy Blackmans Bay Photos and interviews Kelly Madden John Young Devonport Amidst the plethora of people throwing their hats into the ring over the problem of Tasmania's rising road toll, I am concer ned about the proliferation of self-styled experts who think they have the answers. These include school teachers, ex-racing drivers and others. I would like to know what qualifications these people have as far as teaching the skills required to make good drivers. An ex-racing driver who gets young people to negotiate some witches' hats for a couple of hours on a disused aerodrome or race-track can be communicating all the wrong messages -- that is not what good driving on our roads is about. Unqualified people who say they have 'never had an accident' can be teaching bad habits that are almost impossible to correct. If you want a punch-up, criticise someone's driving -- because everyone is an expert! The Institute of Advanced Motorists in Britain has been teaching driving skills since about 1935, including The System of Car Control as taught by the Hendon Metropolitan Police Driver Training School. The Australian Institute of Advanced Motorists teaches this system right here in Tasmania. I am an ex-Glasgow Police squad- car driver, trained in the Hendon System many years ago, and I taught it when I operated my ow n driving- school in Devonport in the 1970s. As an instr uctor with the AIAM I know that we continue to teach a tried and tr ue system of driving. We conduct assessments and courses for drivers in both the public and private sectors who are at high risk because they spend a lot of time behind the wheel. The System of Car Control is taught under real driving conditions in real traffic, not on a race-track. We, as individuals, are not perfect, and when two advanced drivers get together in a car they 'test' each other, the way airline-pilots do when getting ready to renew their licence. It's good fun, too! Modern cars have all the safety bells and whistles, but this can lull drivers into a false sense of security by making them think the car will get them out of trouble -- when the trick is to not get into trouble in the first place. The System of Car Control helps to prevent a driver getting into vulnerable situations. To be a driving-instructor in Britain, I had to undergo a two- hour w ritten test, followed by a two-hour practical test with the requirement that I had to demonstrate the ability to teach, and not just be able to recite the traffic-code. The advanced driving test was two hours long, after attending a ten-week course, covering all aspects of driving, including being able to provide a driving commentary, just like police drivers do. It was far more stringent than any driving test devised by governments. We don't find our certificates in Cor n Flakes packets! The hardest distance for drivers to negotiate is the 150mm between our ears, good driving being a mind-set. However, Idon't know, I've never actually been involved in a road-kill accident. I know there are places in New South Wales with wire guides for possums to go over the top of the road. Elesha Harvey Lutana Iknow when I drive up to Bicheno, there need to be more lights around certain areas to help you notice them more easily, especially where it's really bendy. Nadia Bajzelj Lenah Valley Ithink signage in areas where certain species are common. It's a hard thing because even if you put up fences, they still get through. Steph Cleaver West Hobart In our community December 09 / January 10 12
October November 2009
Feb March 2010