Learner drivers in the South Burnett have new training options.
Learner drivers in the South Burnett have new training options. Kevin Farmer

Helping keep our kids safe on the roads

SOUTH Burnett's CTC has introduced a training driving program for young drivers on their learners.

Learner drivers are partnered up with driving mentors who volunteer their time for this program.

Kirsten Firman is involved in running the CTC learners driving program and believes it gives learner drivers the confidence they need to be safe drivers.

"They do driving lessons with qualified driving instructors first so they are more confident once they start the program,” Ms Firman said.

For a learner driver to get their P1 licence they must complete 100 hours of driving with a supervising mentor.

The mentor must have held their open licence for over a year.

This is beneficial because learner drivers have more experience and more confidence by the time they begin driving on their own.

However there are access barriers for disadvantaged and marginalised learner drivers who do not have access to either a vehicle or a licensed supervisor for their 100 hours.

The South Burnett CTC Learner Driver Mentor Program rationale breaks down how this can negatively affect a minor.

"This creates further disadvantage with less access to employment and training and in some cases, has resulted in young people driving without a license and ending up in court,” the rationale says.

"Within the South Burnett community, it is extremely difficult to gain employment, access training and to be involved in the community without a driver's licence.

"Many individuals find it difficult to get the support of a relative or friend who has a registered car, a current licence and the time to assist them to gain the rest of the hours.”

Learner drivers can be referred by Youth Services, Employment Agencies, or other approved organisations.

The program has hopes to assist community members to obtain their licence and become safe and responsible drivers.

Data put together by Budget Direct and taken from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows 71.7 per cent of younger drivers (aged between 18 and 24) feel as if driving on our roads is more dangerous now than in the previous decade.

This is despite data showing road accident fatalities in Australia to have decreased by 14.7 per cent over the past decade.

Vehicle registrations have also increased by 23 per cent, meaning there are more cars on the road than ever before.

Ms Firman said she was unsure if drivers in the South Burnett were scared of driving on our roads.

"Now that our young people are having professional driving lessons and 100 hours of practise, the greatest complaint I hear is about other drivers on the road,” Ms Firman said.

"We are always talking to young drivers about driving for other risks and other people on the road. 

"Watching for hazards, driving to the conditions and understanding potential risks.”

South Burnett

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