OVER 150 senior students in Emerald prepared for the long road ahead when they took part in a defensive driving course in their final days of school.
Year 12 students from Marist College, Capella State High and Emerald State High participated in the RACQ-managed program, which taught defensive and safe driving strategies at the Emerald Showgrounds.
Marist College principal Marie Martin said the week long course was not available through usual school curriculum and was an initiative of the Kestrel Mine Community Development Fund, which contributed nearly $45,000 this year.
“This is the fourth year Kestrel Mine has offered this course to students in our region and we are immensely grateful for their ongoing support,” Ms Martin said.
“The course includes a driver education theory programme and a practical driving session for students, who have a learner’s licence, which we hope will make them safer drivers into the future.”
RACQ Driver Education executive manager Scott Lewin said young and inexperienced drivers often took greater risks and were over-represented in road crash fatality and injury statistics.
“RACQ’s driver education course educates students on critical issues for young drivers, such as hazard perception and increased awareness of other road users,” Mr Lewin said.
“Students are also taken for a practical driving session, enabling them to take what they have learnt and apply it in a real-world situation.”
Marist College Emerald year 12 student Tamara Whyte said she felt more confident with her driving ability after participating in the course.
“I definitely feel more confident in my progress as a driver,” Ms Whyte said.
“All the instructors were very helpful and provided us with many skills and knowledge to feel safer driving on the roads.
“By driving on different terrains and in different circumstances we were able to experience a variety of situations that we could potentially face and now we know how we can cope with each of them.”
Kestrel Mine general manager operations John Coughlan said the program was an extension of Rio Tinto Coal Australia’s focus on safety.
“The safety of our employees is at the core of everything we do, including the operation of the wide variety of vehicles on our site,” Mr Coughlan said.
“It’s particularly important at this time of the year when there are a lot of younger drivers with learner’s licences spending more time on the road.
“Ensuring our young people are able to cope in a variety of conditions and can anticipate problems before they happen will help develop their skills and make them safer drivers.”
“I definitely feel more confident in my progress as a driver.” Marist College student Tamara Whyte
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