Driver safety course coming

A professional driving instructor at Dubbo has urged the NSW government to come through with its promise of a special safety course for learners.

Greg Reichart was in favour of the initiative, which was mooted almost a year ago but not yet a reality.

When asked for an update, a spokesman for NSW roads minister Duncan Gay said the Safer Drivers Course would begin in the second half of this year and the government was committed to really improving young driver safety.

While Dubbo's learner drivers wait, they have been regulars on the road to achieve the 120 hours of experience needed before they sit their provisional (P) licence test.

Mother-of-three Skye Dickerson told the Daily Liberal the law was too onerous and not the best way to foster competent and safe skills.

Mr Reichart, who sits beside learner drivers every day and who was a NSW police officer for 30 years, suggested the system could be improved.

"The old 50-hour scheme was too low for the average person, but 120 hours is probably too many," he said.

Mr Reichart also thought the requirement was open to abuse.

"I can see, I have no proof, but I see some people with 120 hours in their logbook and when you look it's all in (even) one hour, two hour sessions," he said.

"They've got their hours up quickly but their skill level doesn't indicate that.

"In a lot of cases there's some fudging of the logbooks."

Mr Reichart was keen for learners to have the opportunity to complete a specially-designed course, which would also work as a discount on their logbook hours.

That may be possible within the next 12 months, with a ministerial spokesman saying a lot of work had already been done.

The course would involve both practical and theoretical training and the first group of learners would be undertaking the training this year, he said.

Since April 2012, independent road safety experts, industry and community members had provided input to the curriculum of the course, he said.

"Young driver safety is a critical road safety issue, and when the course begins this year it will prepare learners better than ever before for moving to P-plates and driving alone, as we know the riskiest time for young drivers is the first few months of driving solo," he said.

"The course that we will introduce this year is an Australian first and it is critical we do it properly."

In developing the course the government had been actively dealing with the issues of disadvantage and the board visited a remote Aboriginal community at Tabulam to ensure that issues of disadvantage were considered, the spokesman said.

Significant work has been undertaken to develop the course including development of a course framework that was designed to complement on-road driving practice, he said.

Market research had been done to better understand how the government would deliver the course so it resonated with young drivers and their parents, he said.

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