Good driving and experience on the road go hand in hand. For this reason it’s pretty obvious that young drivers will always be at a disadvantage. But the solution to making them better drivers isn’t just more time behind the wheel.
The New South Wales state cabinet has recently agreed to a new policy initiave that will allow L-Platers to cut 20 hours off the mandatory 120 hours driving practice. To be eligible, L-Platers are required to finish an optional course of five hours of on-road and classroom training focused on driving attitudes. It’s a terrific start.
Plenty of L-Platers are bound to be attracted by the opportunity to shorten the seemingly endless hours of driving practice. But a fool-proof learner driver plan should include a test for emotional intelligence that reflects the very real and distinct pressures of being a young driver.
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It was a performance worthy of a Guinness World Record. Barreling along Sydney Road Fairlight, the truck driver was texting on one mobile phone while speaking on another, steering the rig with his knees.
I hit the horn and indicated – in no uncertain terms – he should stop before he kills someone. Still clutching the phones he slowly and deliberately raised his middle finger.
If only he’d read the story of 21-year-old Sarah Page, a serial texter from New Zealand. “It’s fine Mum, I do it all the time!” she’d protest. Until she wrapped her car around a pole in 2009.
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In July last year, the South Australian Coroner Mark Johns called for suicide statistics to be published alongside the road toll. Since that time, just over 100 South Australians have died on the state’s roads. More than 180 South Australians have killed themselves.
Despite Mr Johns’ call, suicide statistics remain unpublished. The topic by and large remains taboo. And desperate people keep taking their own lives because their mental illness isn’t properly treated, or because friends and family don’t have the confidence or the skills to raise this most delicate of subjects.
As a community, we’ve got to stop being so squeamish about suicide. It’s the single biggest cause of death for Australian females aged 15-34 and males 15-44. Latest statistics show that 2130 Australians took their own lives in 2009, compared to 1417 road deaths for the year and 1837 from skin cancer.
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As we embark on another busy holiday period on our roads, I’m reminded of a tragic story.
It was late at night. A car ran a red light and an innocent family was in trouble.
As a police officer, I was one of the first on the scene. The father had died on impact in the car. The mother – who was given CPR by ambulance officers – also died at the scene.
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Memo Mark Webber: Go back to the Motherland.
We don’t want your insensitive, ignorant and thoughtless comments here.
Webber tipped the bucket on his homeland after fellow F1 legend Lewis Hamilton was charged with doing burnouts leaving the Albert Park track.
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What’s a long weekend in Australia without attempting to drive just a bit too far?
That one extra day can inspire many of us to pack up the car and make the most of it.
But why does that also so often mean that we decide to drive way too fast and far too recklessly?
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