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AAA Welcomes keys2drive Initiative

9.11.2007

Australia’s peak motoring organisation, the Australian Automobile Association (AAA), today welcomed the ALP’s announcement of $17 million over 4 years to support an innovative driver education program named keys2drive. The program will provide a free professional driving lesson by a qualified instructor for Learner drivers when they bring their supervising driver to the lesson.

AAA Executive Director, Mike Harris, said the program is designed to reduce the crash risk of young people without negating their ability to travel.

“We know that, nationally, nearly a third of people killed on Australian roads are aged 16 to 25 — yet they represent only 15% of the population,” Mr Harris said.

“As drivers, 17 to 20 year olds are over 11 times more likely to be killed than drivers aged 40 to 44 years. Research shows that one of the most effective ways of reducing risk for young drivers is to ensure that Learners get high levels of supervised practice, involving a variety of driving circumstances, before making the transition to driving solo.

“However, supervising drivers, who are often parents, brothers, sisters or friends, sometimes find teaching their Learner a daunting and stressful task. Many supervisors also underestimate the risk that young drivers face. As a result, some Learner drivers are not getting an optimal number of hours on the road and are not being exposed to sufficient variety of road types and conditions.

“keys2drive will provide an extra incentive for Learners to get more on-road experience and will assist supervising drivers to become better informed and more confident in undertaking their important role. In many cases the supervisor may have had no involvement with driver education and training for many years.

“Our research shows that the community is very supportive of efforts to improve driver education and training. Some 84% of people surveyed nationally believe more driver education and training is either extremely or very important in preventing road deaths and injuries.

“The States have now introduced a requirement that Learners obtain a minimum number of hours of on-road driving experience — both NSW and Victoria have mandated a minimum of 120 hours. We believe that keys2drive will assist Learners in achieving these hours.

“We welcome the ALP’s announcement of this important national road safety initiative and look forward to working closely with the driver training industry and the next Government in implementing the program.”

AAA and Australia’s motoring clubs lead the development of the keys2drive concept, which is based on programs being conducted by motoring clubs.

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