There is no such thing as Dangerous Roads or Conditions or Cars
It is the decisions the driver makes in managing these elements in the environment, that creates the risk. Vehicles, engineering and safety have improved immeasurably, don’t believe me, go and drive a new car, drive one 10 years old, then drive one 20 years old, the improvements will astound you.
After reading an article in the Sydney Morning Herald this morning, I felt compelled to write. (Federal Governments Complacent on Road Safety )
We continually blame the environment for the fatalities and crash statistics. We stated the dangerous roads and call them Black spots, we blame the conditions stating the rain caused a spate of accidents. Nothing could be further from the truth.
There is no such thing as Dangerous Roads, conditions or cars. It is the driver’s decisions on how to manage the environment they create, that creates the risk.
The Environment is being transformed with amazing roads. I remember growing up in Central West NSW, the Rivers Road was bitumen and only 1.5 cars wide, the road out the front of our farm, was gravel and in summer would be ground to bulldust, up to 30cm thick, in winter, it would be reduced to a clay skating rink, yet we not only survived, we learned to drive.
That is the problem, everything is evolving, except how we teach people to drive.
The federal governments “Keys to Drive” program consumes $15m pa, yet all it can do is give away free driving lessons in Gold Coast. Their methodology is “Learn your own way”.
Their literature is simply telling parents to sit down, shut up and let their kids work out how to drive…………
Seriously, if that was the solution to the problem, then we would not have a problem, would we? As we all taught ourselves how to drive.
The current massive spike, let’s face it, it is horrendous, with twice the number of fatalities this Christmas period alone compared to last year, is not only against all global OECD trends, it simply shows the effects of fundamentally flawed policies in road safety and driver education
The primary difference between drivers now and how I learned to drive, and my parents, for example, is the cars were so basic and agricultural, that we actually had to “learn how to drive”.
We had to develop a bit of mechanical empathy. We had to learn how to do things, such as changing gears, braking with drum brakes in the wet and dry, that always pulled the car in different directions, steering that was as vague as a politicians promise. The cars communicated with us, told us when they and we were out of our depth. scared us into slowing down.
Today’s cars isolate the driver from all this information. As an industry, it does not even realise what good driving is about.
Everyone believes it to be about passing the driving test. So the student, the customer, align themselves to pass the test.
The Driving instructors, a competitive price based industry, aligns itself to the consumer, to help them pass the test.
Their success as driving instructors is measured by their driving test pass rate.
Driving instructors only have to meet the basics of a 4-day cert four course in driving. A four-day program (some do it in 2) on how to run a small business, customer service and compliance. They are then told they will learn the rest as they go.
Driving examiners are chosen internally and sit an internal course on how to pass the driving test. No experience, no qualifications, no certificate 4 in training and assessment. Nothing.
Is it any wonder that after decades of such fundamentally flawed vision, policy and approach, that with much-improved cars, roads, engineering, and safety, that people are killing themselves, maiming their families, at unprecedented rates?
In 2010, at the national Road Safety conference; Mercedes-Benz road-safety expert, Dr Ulrich Mellinghoff stated in his experience, there are three methods for reducing road trauma; better licensing, better roads and safer cars.
“The car companies have delivered their end of the bargain, but you, as a government, have utterly failed your population when it comes to the other two,”
So, what we are seeing on our roads today, in our news and plastered in media everywhere, is the result of failed policy. Not bad drivers, not misbehaving P platers, not poorly designed roads or any other mantra. Just failed, misplaced policy that has created legislation that is killing people. And they are blaming the people who have simply complied with their policy
This graph shows what happens to driver behaviour when you implement a structured program that focuses on postural stability, good sound driving technique, validated through research and support and train the parents as you go in their role as supervised drivers.