Push for safer drivers: Why defensive driving courses are critical

Participants in a defensive driving course are improving their skills behind the wheel. Photo: Megan Dunn.
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Penrith drivers are being encouraged to sharpen their skills behind the wheel by taking part in a defensive driving course.

A total of 2,870 car accidents occurred in the Penrith Local Government Area between 2015 and 2019, with 65.6 per cent of these resulting in injury.

Penrith also recorded a total of 30 deaths as a result of crashes in the same time period.

With a Penrith Community Profile report from 2018 finding that 66.5 per cent of Penrith residents commute to work via car, safety on our roads remains a priority.

Stewart Nicholls, a trainer with STC Education, believes it is possible to create safer roads in the community and that defensive driving courses are crucial.

“For me it’s about acknowledging that there is a solution to these sorts of problems through quality driver education and training,” Mr Nicholls said.

“Those sorts of outcomes are possible, to prevent tragedy on our roads.

“Sadly, what we see is the standard learner driver process is enough to get people to pass the test, but it doesn’t really show them how to be better, safer drivers on the road.”

Mr Nicholls hopes to encourage all drivers to think more about how to improve their driving and their safety, rather than just young P1 and P2 license holders.

Although many parents will enrol their teenage children in the course, Mr Nicholls believes it carries benefits for people of all ages.

“We should also see older drivers who haven’t had any kind of training,” he said.

Mr Nicholls has been presented with new challenges in recent years. As cars become safer, the activity of the driver is the most important consideration, with speeding, alcohol, fatigue and distraction being the four main causes of car crashes.

“We basically show them the outcomes of what their choices are,” he said.

“People tend to try and save time by driving faster on our roads … what we actually show them is that those actions actually don’t get them to their destination any sooner – what they’re doing is increasing their risk.”

To find out more about undertaking a course, email [email protected].

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