Car ban is not the answer to deaths of young drivers

INFORM NOT REFORM: Former defensive driving instructor Carl Hillman said the solution to less road fatalities isn't bans, but education.
INFORM NOT REFORM: Former defensive driving instructor Carl Hillman said the solution to less road fatalities isn't bans, but education. Danielle Lowe

THE new year started with the death of two young men in a violent car crash in Ipswich.

It took the national Christmas holiday road toll to 43.

The accident spurred the city's mayor Paul Pisasale into action.

Cr Pisasale has called for a complete ban on young people driving high-performance vehicles.

But a former defensive driving instructor from Kingaroy is furious about the suggestion.

Instead, he said there needed to be urgent reform to the State Government's driver education program.

Carl Hillman was a defensive driving instructor for 12 years.

He said banning people from driving high-performance vehicles was the wrong idea.

"Education is absolutely the key to a lot of these road fatalities," he said.

"The current system gives them a license to go out and kill themselves and their friends because they have not been trained to drive a car properly.

"If we train our drivers on car control and the engineering of the car, then they have the correct basis on which they can act."

Mr Hill said major changes needed to be made to the state's Q-Safe practical driving test.

He said the test should incorporate defensive driving training, to help get the road toll down.

"Current tests and training do not put them into stressful situations," Mr Hill said.

"And when they come to one, they don't know what to do.

"The most dangerous thing people can do in life is drive a car.

"And if they don't understand what they're doing is life-threatening, these road accidents will continue."

Mr Hillman said lack of driver training on different types of vehicles was another major flaw of driver training tests.

"Most driving schools use little front-wheel drive cars and most parents have front-wheel driving cars," he said.

"Things like your steering, turning and braking all change when you drive different vehicles.

"And (this) is not being taught in the current system."

But Nanango driving instructor Andrew Cross did not agree with Mr Hill.

He said incorporating defensive driving into vehicle licence training and tests was unnecessary.

"The test is quite comprehensive in its current form," he said.

"For someone to need to use defensive driving manoeuvres, then there is a good chance they are driving over the speed limit or dealing with an illegal situation.

"It is incredibly difficult to get modern cars to slide, if you're driving the speed limit and driving to weather conditions."

Department of Transport and Main Roads statistics showed drivers aged 17-24 were at least 50% more likely than other motorists to be involved in a fatal road crash.

Before applying for a P1 licence, current learner drivers are required to pass a theory test.

They also need to show they have had 100 hours of supervised driving.

Alternatively, P1 licence applicants could have held a learner's permit for two years.

South Burnett

Topics:  accident car car crash defensive driving driver education driving

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