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Teensafe driving - making a difference

The summer holidays aren't over and traffic volumes are still high. The South Coast has seen all too many road accidents already this summer and there are still weeks to go. There has been a solid Highway Patrol presence up and down the Princes Highway and along the Kings Highway and the South Coast command and officers are to be congratulated for the efforts they have made to educate drivers with their media alerts, their campaigns and their vigilance. Most drive safely however the continued reports in social media of the inane driving of just a few beggars belief. Police have just charged a disqualified learner driver following a high speed police pursuit at Gundagai. Officers from Wagga Wagga Highway Patrol were conducting stationary speed enforcement duties on the Hume Highway at Tumbalong when car with a red P-plate sped past them. The police immediately attempted to stop the vehicle. The car accelerated away from the officers who activated their warning lights and siren, and a pursuit commenced. The pursuit continued for 30 kilometres reaching speeds between 140km/h and 170km/h. When the vehicle attempted to leave the Hume Highway it failed to negotiate a lbend and continued down a grass embankment, before stopping in a paddock. All five occupants of the vehicle were detained by police - fortunately no one was injured in the incident. The 20-year-old driver held a disqualified NSW Learners Licence and the vehicle was out of registration.The driver was arrested and taken to Wagga Wagga Police Station where she was later charged with police pursuit – not stop – drive dangerously, drive speed/manner dangerously, drive motor vehicle during disqualification period, use unregistered motor vehicle and use uninsured motor vehicle. We have all witnessed, to a certain extent, similar recklessness on the Kings Highway and Princes Highway. With the added risks of impatience, inexperience, complacency, distraction, possible mobile phone use and in our youth, peer pressure, many of our drivers, young and old, are pushing the limits of their capabilities. Sadly it is mainly our youth who are involved in rural and regional road fatalities. One local group have declared that enough is enough and have undertaken a commitment to bring quality driver education to our Shire youth. TeenSafe Moruya commenced in 1999 as a request from members of the local community to provide young people with information and practical experiences in safe driving. 'L' and 'P' plate drivers develop driving skills in a controlled environment and under the supervision of trained instructors.

A dedicated group of volunteers conduct TeenSafe driving courses during school holiday periods at the Motor Sports Complex on Donnellys Drive, Moruya. Courses consist of 8 hours of tuition, with a maximum of 6-7 students and dates are set according to demand and volunteer availability. The program consists of both theory and practical elements and teaches basic skills as well as safety aspects of driving with a detailed presentation teaching driving skills in a fun, positive and safe manner with emphasis being placed on slowing down, hazard perception and the consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Tuition is on a 'one to one' basis in the vehicles - all supplied by TeenSafe. Approximately 85% of the course consists of actual driving time and students are of normal road traffic. Vehicle maintenance and safety checks are demonstrated and discussed. For more information visit the Teensafe website

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