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AA Driver Education Conference 2004


23 April 2004


With the Government debating whether to ban the use of mobile phones while driving, international experts on ‘driver behaviour’ and ‘driver distractions’ will shed some light on the subject for delegates at the AA Driver Education Conference in Wellington on the 28 & 29th April at the James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor.

Dr Sarah Redshaw from the University of Western Sydney, will focus on driver behaviour following on from her research in the area of youth and road safety. Dr Michael Regan a Senior Research Fellow at Monash University, Accident Research Centre, Melbourne will speak about driver distractions.

Peter Sheppard, chief executive of the AA Driver Education Foundation, says Sarah Redshaw’s work investigates the social importance of motor vehicle use. “Through her research she is able to show that social and emotional skills are just as important as car handling skills, when managing the risks of driving”.

Peter Sheppard says driver distraction is an increasing factor in road crashes, particularly with the increase in new technology, which has complicated the driving task.

“It is important to recognise the influence distractions have on driver performance. Driver distractions need to be managed to reduce their influence on risk and appropriate interventions or countermeasures need to be implemented to manage these risks.”

Peter Sheppard says the conference will allow New Zealand driver educators to explore some of the issues surrounding driver behaviour and the impact of driving distractions across all sectors of the driving population. “It will be an opportunity to consider what changes may be necessary to the driver education curriculum in order to cope with these issues”, he says.

“The good work being done by Police enforcement and LTSA advertising campaigns still have their limitations and we believe more effort should be made to influence driver behaviour through areas of peer education and innovative learning styles”, he says.

He says at a time when the World Health Organisation recognises that that if current trends continue, road traffic injuries will be the third leading contributor to the global burden of disease and injury world-wide, the field of driver education has never been more important.


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