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Driver Education In School Curriculum

Driver Education In School Curriculum

In a move described as “the most significant thing to happen in driver education in New Zealand”, Porirua College is the first to incorporate driver education into the core curriculum for its students.

AA Driver Education Foundation chief executive, Peter Sheppard, says Porirua College has recognised that driver education for their students is going to give them valuable workplace skills and qualifications that are recognised on the New Zealand qualification framework.

The programme, called ‘Drive Force’, will be launched at Porirua College, Driver Cres, on World Health Day, 7 April, 9.00am.

Andy Fraser, Assistant Principal at Porirua College, says the College sees the benefits of driver education as many fold.

“We expect that offering driver education as part of the curriculum will result in safer licensed drivers and raise students levels of competence, confidence and self worth. Students who may be afraid of failure and challenging their limits can use it is as an opportunity to acquire the skills to enable them to venture beyond the confines and security of their families and the local community. This will have a positive effect on broadening the students' horizons, goals and aspirations in life, and increase future employment opportunities”.

Peter Sheppard says Land Transport Safety Authority figures show for every kilometre driven, young males are more lethal than any other group on the road and as much as seven times more likely than a middle aged driver to cause an injury crash.

“Despite the figures, crash trends involving all young drivers have dramatically improved during the past two decades, something the LTSA puts down to driver education programmes”, he says.

In getting ‘Drive Force’ off the ground, Peter Sheppard credits the vision and foresight of Porirua College, and the huge support and encouragement received from the steering group, comprising, ACC, LTSA, Ministry of Health, Police, Road Safety Co-ordinator from Porirua City Council and the District Health Board.

“Drive Force is a driver training initiative we want to replicate around New Zealand secondary schools, and in Porirua College we have found some fantastic champions”, he says.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recognised that if current trends continue, road traffic injuries will be the third leading contributor to the global burden of disease and injury world-wide. They have dedicated World Health Day on April 7th to Road Safety, and New Zealand will be joining with many countries around the World in announcing road safety initiatives.

Some 50% of road traffic fatalities world-wide (58% in New Zealand) involve young adults aged 15-44 years, the most economically productive segment of the population.

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