News

Mutual Obligation in Young Driver Training

8.12.2006

The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) - Australia's peak motoring organisation – has called for greater community involvement in line with the Federal Government's policy of mutual obligation in improving young driver training and education.

The AAA has written to the Prime Minister proposing greater community involvement – and particularly parental involvement - in young driver training as a means to curb the high levels of young driver crashes and fatalities on Australian roads.

The AAA has proposed a program currently being operated by the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria, Parent Plus, as a basis for a national program encouraging parents to become more involved in their children's driving lessons and training.

The program - which offers a free lesson for the learner driver with their parent and then follow up information for the parent - is proving successful in giving parents the knowledge and confidence to know what to say and do when taking their children out for a driving lesson.

AAA Executive Director, Lauchlan McIntosh, said the Parent Plus program was popular among both parents and drivers, and urged the Government to seriously consider partnering with the motoring Clubs to promote this program.

"The disproportionate numbers of crashes and fatalities involving young drivers is a real challenge for the whole community – not just governments," Mr McIntosh said.

"Everyone needs to play a role in bringing down the number of crashes involving young drivers, and that is particularly the case for parents.  Yet our research shows parents are not always confident when getting in the car with their child – they are often not sure what to tell them or what is the correct advice in terms of road rules.

"Finding solutions to the high levels of young driver trauma needs a mature, sensible, no-blame approach – a national approach – a shared mutual obligation to learn about the need for a safe system which may be more effective than bringing in new laws and regulation."

Mr McIntosh said AAA was speaking to the Prime Minister's office and the Minister for Transport about the Parent Plus program and called for it to be trialled nationally.

"Parent Plus is showing clear benefits for both the drivers and their parents in encouraging skills and competence – anything that we can do to bring down the high levels of crashes and trauma involving young drivers should be supported," he said. 

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