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Journeys : Aug Sep 2012
NW initiative a good move for learner drivers F or some young people, lear ning to drive is almost impossible because they have no access to a car or a responsible driver to teach them. The Red Cross has launched the Lear ner Driver-Mentor Program (LDMP) on the North West Coast to help disadvantaged youth gain employment and break social isolation. Jess Deans, 18, (right) joined the LDMP committee because she believes it will change lives. “If this program had been around a year ago it would have changed everything,” Jess says. “At the time I was renting my own home, going to school and working. After I’d paid for my rent, food and bills I didn’t have any money for driving lessons. My parents aren’t around so it wasn’t just the expense, it was not having anyone to teach me.” Jess says being unlicensed meant she missed out on jobs because the roles needed licensed employees. Red Cross LDMP coordinator Cassie Male says volunteer drivers will complete training and induction before they commence and must not have had any driving suspensions in the last two years. “Mentors need to commit to one hour per week but they can volunteer for more time if they would like to,” Cassie says. The program is jointly funded by the Tasmanian Community Fund, the Depar tment of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and the Motor Accidents Insurance Board. SimoneLea For this reason, in 2009, Tasmania introduced a Graduated Dr iver Licensing Scheme (GDLS), which had one simple objective – to reduce the number of serious injuries and deaths from road crashes, especially those involving novice dr ivers. The GDLS is a comprehensive approach to learning how to drive that specifically concentrates on providing young drivers with improved practical driving skills, experience and good driving habits before they can be issued with a provisional licence. The scheme is based on proven research and evidence which indicates that: • Exper ience reduces road crashes • Lear ners under super vision are a low-r isk group • Motivation and attitude to risk-taking are as important in improving driver safety as practical driving skills • Lear ners must develop practical driving skills before they are able to develop higher order skills Tasmania’s GDLS was designed to ensure learner drivers had more opportunity to develop driving skills and safety awareness, in a safe, super vised environment, before progressing to the provisional period. DIER has just commenced a rev iew of the Graduated Driver Licensing Scheme under the Tasmanian Road Safety Strategy 2007-2016 and this will look at the current system and whether anything should be added, amended or removed. In 2011, the average age for a person being issued an L1 licence was 18 years and 2 months. The average age for a person being issued a P1 licence in 2011 was 19 years and 6 months. The minimum time a person must remain in the learner period is 12 months. So this means that on average, learners take only 4 months in addition to the minimum legal lear ner period to get their P1 licence issued. There has also been a 20% increase in the number of applicants who pass the P1 assessment first time after they have undertaken an L2 assessment. This demonstrates that the L2 assessment allows applicants to realistically benchmark their learning development and leads them to practise required techniques through the mandatory 50 hours, ensur ing that those techniques stay with them throughout their driving career. DIER, through the publications and online communications to novice drivers, encourages novice drivers to stay in the learner stage as long as possible. This helps to ensure that learners spend as much time as possible in the learner stage, which is the safest time for a young person to be on the road. It also helps to ensure that they get plenty of experience in different road, weather and traffic conditions while learning, which contr ibutes to making them safer on the road during their provisional period. It cannot be stressed enough just how important it is for learners to take plenty of time to ensure they are ready for the assessments! Norm McIlfatrick Secretary of DIER Anyone interested in becoming a mentor can call Cassie at Red Cross on 6431 1848. Simone Lea We’d like to hear your views - please add a comment to our new blog post ‘Driver testing - your response’ at www.ract.com.au In our community August / September 2012 7
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Oct Nov 2012