Rod asked Minister Ben Carroll if he would meet with the team from myDRIVESCHOOL to see the benefits first hand of the driver training program
Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (21:12): My adjournment today is for the Minister for Roads and Road Safety, the Honourable Ben Carroll. It relates to new online training programs that can better prepare our young people to drive competently and safely on our roads. There are currently over 120 000 young people on a waitlist to get their learners and provisional licences, and unfortunately COVID-19 has created significant delays and many of these young people are unable to get their licence until March 2021 and beyond. On top of this, many young people who already had their learners have been unable to practise as restrictions on movement have meant it was more difficult to get more hours on the road. Without accessible educational resources, these young people will be unable to start learning to drive for some time.
I believe this is an opportunity to improve the way we teach our kids how to drive and to provide some much-needed support towards the end of a tough year. I have heard of virtual simulation training, such as myDRIVESCHOOL, that could provide students with valuable practice and create a junction for the missed opportunities many have experienced. A program such as this can help appease parents and kids who have been so patient in waiting for the opportunity to get some real driving experience. Simulation training can help in understanding in-cabin controls, intersections and basic driving skills. This leads to less anxiety for all the kids and their parents before they actually get in the car.
I believe learning to drive is based on experience; reading a book does not sufficiently prepare our learners for getting into the driving seat. If they cannot get this experience now, we need to come up with solutions that can effectively bridge the gap between theory and practical driving. When it comes to addressing the lack of driving experience afforded to these young people, the stakes are high. Serious injuries and fatalities in our 18 to 25 age group are disproportionately over-represented, and this is as we focus on moving towards a zero road toll. We often focus on improving our road safety through cars, legislation, infrastructure and medical intervention, however, we have not adequately addressed the way we teach people to drive. The younger they start training, the better it will be.
These virtual simulations are effective, cost- and time-efficient, and, most importantly, safe. Therefore, the action I am asking the minister to take is to meet with the team from myDRIVESCHOOL so he can see the benefits firsthand.