Teens must turn back to school
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.’’