Calls to add driver education to school lessons

QUESTIONS RAISED: Wagga driving instructor Glen Gaudron has raised concerns about a proposal to have driver education taught in state high schools. Picture: Les Smith
QUESTIONS RAISED: Wagga driving instructor Glen Gaudron has raised concerns about a proposal to have driver education taught in state high schools. Picture: Les Smith

Wagga opinion is divided on whether driver education should be taught in NSW high schools.

The Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) is “in discussions” with state governments to introduce driver education into the school curriculum.

CAMS president Andrew Papadopoulos has said his group developed a proposed syllabus for high schools, which includes five three-hour lessons for up to 30 students at a time.

He said a pilot program for 20 schools consisting of theory and practical driving lessons would cost an estimated $100,000.

NSW Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser has backed to idea and is publicly calling for Nationals Leader John Barilaro’s support.

Member for Wagga Daryl Maguire said his parliamentary colleague’s suggestion was “a reflection of the general public’s frustration with the road trauma”.

“Nothing has been put forward to the party room, but good healthy discussion is a positive thing,” Mr Maguire said.

“I think when it comes to driver education more emphasis could be a positive thing in a controlled environment, but I wouldn't like to see 12-year-olds on the road behind the wheel.”

Wagga Rod and Custom Car Club president Alan White has long been a proponent of driver education in schools.

Mr White said he began teaching his own children driving and maintenance skills when they were quite young.

“It concerns me that kids are growing up playing Xbox where games show cars crashing and then fixing themselves,” he said.

“I’ve got four kids, two boys and two girls and I taught them how to maintain their vehicles,” Mr White said.

“It’s a bit hard for parents to teach their children. I have a mechanic background  – some parents wouldn’t know what to teach their kids.”

Mr White said he wanted to see children taught to understand cars and shown that “things can go wrong”.

Wagga driving instructor Glen Gaudron, a former teacher, expressed concerns about the impact of trying to shoehorn even more requirements into an already packed school curriculum.

Mr Gaudron, from the Able Driving School, also questioned who would be teaching the lessons.

“I have to ask who will be doing it,” he said.

"If kids are not being taught properly, it is really easy for them to pick up bad habits.”

Mr Gaudron said he would also be concerned if lessons were offered to students as young as 12, the age of many when they enter Year 7.

“Some are going to be just too young and silly to take the lessons seriously,” he said.

This story Could adding driver education to the curriculum bring the road toll down? first appeared on The Leader.