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Mandatory defensive driving classes needed

Friday, 6 October 2006

Mandatory defensive driving classes needed

Young drivers should have to attend defensive driving classes as a driver licensing requirement, according to United Future transport safety spokesperson Gordon Copeland.

Mr Copeland's call comes after several recent tragic accidents involving inexperienced drivers.

"I agree with accident researcher Dr Robert Isler that the main issue in saving young lives is to give young drivers effective training to decrease their risk-taking behaviour.

"This is done not by repeating in a classroom to keep a good following distance, but by getting them in cars and showing them how long it actually takes to stop in an emergency braking situation.

"Psychologists have pointed out that the frontal lobe of young people does not fully develop until the age of 25. This puts young drivers at increased risk of making poor driving decisions and unnecessary risks.

"Inflated self-confidence is also a problem for those who have never encountered any problems on the road.

"We need to acknowledge this fact, and insist that young drivers especially go through a practical defensive driving course.

"I would like to see a national driving school where young drivers are able to test out braking times, turning in wet conditions, how to recover from a skid and other situations, so they actually understand the realities and risks of driving on the road.

"We can explain all the theory in the world, but young drivers need practical experience to understand why following distances and changing conditions really matter - particularly as physiologically they are more inclined to make inappropriate decisions," said Mr Copeland.


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