Expert calls for scrutiny on parents’ road safety
AN SUV for the prestige market segment and a small electric car are planned for Australia’s next new player, Opel.
The German arm of General Motors says it plans to expand its model range with a crossover SUV that will be launched in about four years.
It will be joined by a small electric hatchback based on the Barina-sized Corsa and expect to play a major role in affirming Opel’s position in the Australian marketplace.
Opel is expected to enter the Australian market in a co-share arrangement with Holden early next year.
Models are expected to include the Camry-size Insignia, Astra—
Opel is expected to enter the Australian market in a co-share arrangement with Holden early next year
possibly including the GTC — and Corsa. The Corsa range could include the 151kW/280Nm OPC hot hatch.
Opel vice-president for business and product planning Frank Weber says all models in the range are under consideration for Australia.
Opel CEO Karl-Friedrich Stracke is on record as saying he wants to expand Opel’s range and global territory outside of its traditional European base.
‘‘I believe that we can achieve a level of about 150,000 vehicles that we can sell annually outside Europe in three years’ time,’’ he says, adding that parent GM is comfortable with that expansion as long as it is profitable and complements GM’s other brands — in this case, Holden. Opel begins deliveries to Argentina and Chile late this year and to China and Australia next year.
The move to a small electric car — to complement Opel’s existing Volt-based Ampera electric sedan — coincides with the German Government announcing an additional $1.4 billion for research and development aid for electric vehicles.
That figures doubles the Government’s previous investment in the technology.
The additional funds include tax rebates, dedicated parking places and measures aimed at promoting government use of electric cars.
Germany aims to have one million electric vehicles on its roads by 2020.
PARENTS should be assessed for driving ability before they teach their children to drive, says a national road safety expert.
The call by road safety expert and Fatality Free Friday founder Russell White comes in the wake of a US survey showing most teenagers witness their parents driving dangerously.
The Ford survey found that 95 per cent of parents claim to be safe drivers, but 82 per cent of their teenage children have witnessed their parents engaging in unsafe driving behaviour like texting while they were driving, talking on a mobile phone, or speeding.
Mr White says the survey by Ford reflects similar attitudes in Australia.
He says it is significant that 78 per cent of teens say their parents have ‘‘a lot of influence’’ on the way they will drive.
‘‘The example they set is absolutely critical in shaping future drivers,’’ Mr White said. ‘‘It’s clear by the number of respondents that stated they had seen their parents undertaking unsafe driving behaviours such as texting, speeding, talking on a mobile phone and breaking road rules, that the influence of parents’ road behaviour needs to be improved.
‘‘This raises questions regarding our log book system and on the overall suitability of many drivers to effectively coach new drivers.’’
He called for either a graduated licensing system for all drivers or extra licensing for anyone who trains a learner driver.
‘‘There are some countries in Europe that do an assessment on parents’ ability to teach learner drivers,’’ he said.
‘‘If someone is a serial traffic offender or not a good driver you have to ask: Are they suitable to teach kids?’’
Mr White says parents have a role to play in driver education, ‘‘provided we are all singing from the same hymn book’’.
‘‘We often hear learner drivers say their mum and dad say something different to what the professional driver-trainers are telling them,’’ he said.
The Ford survey also found 82 per cent of parents expressed interest in putting their children through driver training programs, but fewer than 20 per cent actually did so.
Mr White says a greater priority should be placed on not only enhancing the licensing system but also in providing incentives to undertake further driver training and education.
‘‘It’s about altering the overall road culture,’’ he said.