Year 9 and 10 students from three Tweed high schools had a chance to get behind the wheel when the Ignition program came to town last week.
Presented by CAMS (the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport), the event ran as a prelude to Friday’s CARnival event at the Murwillumbah Showground.
Ignition is a community road-safety initiative – with a mix of theory and practical sessions – and aims to achieve better road safety education outcomes for young people.
Tweed mayor Barry Longland checked out the program as students from Mount St Patrick College got behind the wheel.
‘I’ve heard this morning that the most dangerous thing teenagers will ever do is drive, or ride as a passenger with a teen driver.
‘It is a sad fact that vehicle-related crashes are the leading cause of death of young people,’ Cr Longland said.
‘This course has armed these young people – who are aged 15 and 16 – with the theoretical and practical tools they need to take driving seriously when they get behind the wheel and, hopefully, ensure their safety, [that of] their passengers and those they share the road with.’
Murwillumbah High School teacher Dougal Marshall was impressed with the CAMS program and believes his students benefited from it.
‘The instructor was very knowledgeable and put a lot of things in context for the kids – it was insightful,’ Mr Marshall said.
Sixteen-year-old Murwillumbah High School student Sarah Read already has 33 hours of experience behind her as an L-plater but says she will now have a more informed approach.
‘I’ve learned new and interesting statistics and facts. It’s made me look at how I will drive and how I can become a safer driver,’ Sarah said.
Instructor Samantha Reid said CAMS was looking for government support for the program to make driver instruction part of the curriculum, after providing the course free to schools across all states of Australia, and internationally to South Korea and Sri Lanka.
CAMS Ignition was brought to the Tweed with the support of Tweed Shire Council, assisted by local Rotary clubs and car dealership South Coast Automotive, which supplied the vehicles for practical sessions.
For more on CAMS Ignition, see www.cams.com.au.