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Is our driver training system broken?

One driving instructor certainly thinks so

Is our driver training system broken

Learning to drive and getting your licence is one of the keys to freedom for young people though it can lead to devastating consequences.

Despite a lot time and money spent on road safety campaigns in Australia, vehicle fatalities especially among young people, don’t seem to be abating.

So what’s wrong with the message or is it the training that’s the problem?

Related: Drivers say they were better when they started

Melbourne driving instructor and owner of X Factor Driving School, Darren Smillie, says that our driver education system is broken and learner drivers aren’t being equipped with the proper information when learning to be at the helm of a car.

He says young people are misled into thinking they only need to pass one test and they’ll be right to driving safely and competently after that.

With many learners doing their practise and examinations in suburbia, one of his recommendations is for students to drive to and around the city.

“The city run is about getting drivers out into the city, but for most driving schools this is not covered.”

Smillie adds novices need to get accustomed to busy traffic and tricky manoeuvers like the famous Melbourne hook-turn.

“There’s challenging conditions with more pedestrians, trams and busy road conditions so the city run is an important part of everyday life.”

Related: Rear seat car passengers often unrestrained

Got an opinion on this? We’d love to know your thoughts.

Leave a comment below or send us an email via feedback@behindthewheel.com.au.

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About Simon Lai 1452 Articles

Simon’s interest in cars stems from hours in a misspent youth playing racing computer games.

His love of being at the wheel and of tech has translated into the real world as a member of our road test team providing an everyday-man perspective on the affordable range of vehicles.

When he’s not being a geek, Simon also has a hand in our product reviews, video production and is a regular contributor on the podcast.

He lives in Sydney with his wife and newborn son.

1 Comment on Is our driver training system broken?

  1. Thanks for the article; Darren has raised some interesting points. It’s true; city driving is often not attempted by supervised learners, meaning higher order cognitive skills required to cope with associated complex situations is not yet developed.

    Testing standards are somewhat challenging, however examiners only have a relatively small window to assess drivers against key performance criterion.

    I feel parents shouldn’t allow their teen’s requisite birthday and test result be the only evidence of their readiness to drive unsupervised. Even though they may pass the driving test after demonstrating their knowledge of some road rules and an ability to control a vehicle – they still are, and will continue to be for quite some time, a ‘Novice Driver’. When they pass the driving test they move from the safest they will ever be behind the wheel to by far the most dangerous 6-12 month period of their driving life.

    Victorian Transport Accident Commission statistics show they are 30 times more likely to crash. It should be remembered that in addition to fatalities, there are many serious casualties, including spinal and brain trauma injuries to young drivers, passengers and other road users that they collide with.

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