Teens must turn back to school

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News - Paul Gover Na­tional edi­tor

EV­ERY­ONE knows a crazy young driver. One of the most fa­mous in Aus­tralia was the late Peter Brock, who did plenty of wild things dur­ing his early days on the road— in­clud­ing rolling his Holden more than once.

Brock was lucky be­cause he had the tal­ent to sur­vive, and also be­gan driv­ing when the roads were far less crowded than they are now.

Far too many of to­day’s be­gin­ners do not have Brock’s ad­van­tages. The road toll among our youth is ris­ing and so is the amount of anti-so­cial be­hav­iour in cars, even among young women .

Road safety ex­perts— Brock him­self be­fore he died, driver train­ers and many other ex­perts— agree that the key is ed­u­ca­tion and at­ti­tude.

Per­son­ally, I only sur­vived my first few years on the road thanks to a driver train­ing course run by the late Peter Wher­rett.

He was a pi­o­neer who cracked heads and cut peo­ple down to size, em­pha­sis­ing the need to treat driv­ing as a se­ri­ous busi­ness.

Mark Skaife sees it the same way. He de­scribes driv­ing as a ‘‘life skill’’.

An­other of to­day’s lead­ing driver train­ers, Ian Luff, has a clear pic­ture of what needs to be done.

He has 28 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence , hav­ing be­gun with Wher­rett, and is now fo­cused on young driv­ers with a pro­gram called Drive to Sur­vive.

It is be­ing picked up at many schools in NSW, and teaches the right skills and at­ti­tudes.

‘‘A think­ing driver is a sur­viv­ing driver,’’ says Luff. ‘‘The pro­gram is about tak­ing speed off the streets and teach­ing young kids the right at­ti­tude. It’s about help­ing kids change their be­hav­iour.’’

He in­sists: ‘‘If you re­ally want to make a change in be­hav­iour, you have to have ed­u­ca­tion and you have to start young.

‘‘Give kids the skills they need, but also the knowl­edge to make the right de­ci­sions when they’re be­hind the wheel.’’

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