The Belconnen Community Service (BCS) has received $67,375 from the ACT Government to deliver a driving training and support pilot program for disadvantaged young learner drivers so they can progress from pre-learner to P-platers.
The Easy P program will support disadvantaged learner drivers by linking them with a course of professional lessons from an approved provider, as well as up to 10 hours per week of driving mentoring with BCS volunteer drivers.
New laws come into effect on 1 January 2020 which require ACT learner drivers to achieve a minimum of 100 supervised driving hours in order to gain their provisional driving licence.
Participants aged 15-25 years must first complete the Road Ready course with BCS and be in possession of a current Centrelink Healthcare card to qualify. The BCS Road Ready courses run four times a year, with the next one scheduled for 21 January 2020.
Youth Engagement Coordinator at BCS Daniel Gaffney said the program is timely considering the upcoming changes.
“Many of our Road Ready participants lack resources and connections to assist with gaining driving experience as it is, and with the upcoming changes, we believe this will only become more noticeable.
“This program will assist with removing barriers for young people to participate in what is often seen as an essential element of gaining independence as an adult, as well as gaining valuable connections through relationships with driving mentors.”
BCS is encouraging eligible participants to register for the next Road Ready course so that they can participate in the Easy P program. The program is also receiving applications from volunteer driving mentors who wish to participate.
“We are hopeful to see a broad range of driving mentors in the program. This may include retirees or members of car clubs, but overall, we would hope for mentors who are optimistic of the value they could bring to a young person who may be disadvantaged and disenfranchised,” Daniel said.
“There will be some key characteristics we will be looking for, especially patience, as well as a minimum of 10 years’ driving experience and a clean record, but an interest in supporting young people will be essential.”
The Easy P program will launch in January 2020. BCS has also partnered with the University of Canberra to conduct an evaluation of the program to assess its effectiveness and sustainability.
Minister for Justice, Consumer Affairs and Road Safety Shane Rattenbury said the allocation of more than $300,000 across seven organisations through the 2019 ACT Road Safety Community Grants Program will boost road safety research, education and road trauma prevention.
“This year we received 30 applications from a range of organisations across the country to undertake projects and initiatives in the ACT,” Mr Rattenbury said.
“Road safety is one of the key priorities for the ACT Government which is committed to achieving Vision Zero, where no accident on our roads results in death or serious injury.”
Funding for six other projects includes:
- ACT Veterans Cycling Club: $6,727 for first-aid training and first-aid kits for members of the ACT Veterans Cycling Club with skills to render first aid if they are first responders on the scene of a crash on the ACT and regional roads.
- COTA (Council on the Ageing) ACT: $20,000 for the publication and distribution of the ‘ACT Older Drivers Handbook’ and ‘A Guide to getting around Canberra’, and conducting road safety community education events for older drivers, in collaboration with the Australasian New Car Assessment Program.
- PKUP Pty Ltd: $47,906 for a road safety public awareness campaign educating, informing and influencing Canberra night-goers about not drinking and driving and to consider a safe option for getting home.
- Swinburne University: $48,188 for a project to develop a campaign targeting people aged 18-25 to encourage shared responsibility for road safety; in particular, by encouraging drivers to share the road.
- Queensland University of Technology: $48,639 for a project to test educational approaches in the ACT that can potentially improve road user attitudes and reduce aggression toward cyclists.
- Monash University Accident Research Centre – $62,963 for a behaviour change program aimed at reducing aggression in younger drivers.
For further information on Easy P, visit BCS.