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20,000 learners signed on for Safer Drivers Course

Article PhotoThe New South Wales Government has just had its 20,000th young learner driver sign up for the Safer Drivers programme, meaning good news for all those on state roads.

The course was a project developed with consideration of the latest research by an independent road safety board, making it specially designed to aid young drivers. The aim of the Safe Drivers Course is to equip learners with the skills and knowledge to better prepare them for when they graduate to their P-Plates.

Minister for Roads and Freight, Duncan Gay expressed his enthusiasm for the recent news, calling it a fantastic day for road safety.

"Safer Drivers is the first of its kind and offers a new and innovative approach to conventional driving training," says Minister Gay. "In December, one in five young drivers mainly around 17 and 18 years of age completed the Safer Driver course, and I urge more learner drivers to do the same."

The Safe Drivers Course

The course is designed to help young people make better driving decisions when they move on to unsupervised driving with their P-Plates. This includes learning about safe following distances, managing their speed and gap selection, crash avoidance and other practical skills.

Entry for the course is restricted to younger drivers on their learner licence under the age of 25 years who have also completed 50 hours of driving in their logbooks.

The course has both a theoretical and practical element, including an extended three-hour group discussion on road risk management and a 2 hour driving coaching session which takes place in a dual-control car. The two modules must be completed in order, (group discussion to come first) and within one month of each other.

Once the course has been completed successfully, the learner driver will receive 20 hours in their log book towards the required total of 120 hours for their P-Plates. In addition, if learner drivers also choose to participate in 10 hours of professional driving lessons, it will count for 20 hours additional credit for their logbooks.

The impact of driving education

"The importance of the course is emphasised when you think young drivers in the first six months on P-Plates are nine times more likely to be involved in a crash involving serious injury or death," says Minister Gay.

He adds that in addition to better equipping our drivers, measures such as the Safer Drivers Course in conjunction with professional lessons have saved families 800,000 hours in supervised driving over the past year and a half.

Transport for NSW lists course providers across almost 250 different locations, costing drivers $140 to participate. Out of those who have taken the Safer Drivers Course, 19,400 have gone on to successfully earn their P-Plates.

The NSW Government is also giving away 10,000 Safer Drivers Courses for free to Aboriginal drivers as part of its Aboriginal Road Safety Action Plan.

The top ten areas for course participation were spread throughout regional NSW and Western Sydney, listed as Camden, Castle Hill, Davidson,The Entrance, Hawkesbury, Kiama, Tamworth, Terrigal, Wagga Wagga and Wyong.

"Last year, we saved 24 lives on our roads compared to the year before," reports Minister Gay, "and a key contributor to this drop was a reduction in fatalities from P-Plate driver crashes, which reduced by 35 per cent, from 51 to 33."

The Safer Drivers Course receives financial support from the Community Road Safety Fund, which redirects funds collected due from speed cameras back into the community.