You might all be getting a little sick of our Road Safety agenda here on Car Advice but we believe it to be an essential topic that needs as much attention as it can get. We have said it countless times, with Australia’s road toll not improving, and higher infringement fines not having any effect, better driver training and education is the only way to reduce the road toll.
Whilst this message has been echoing slowly across the aussie motoring world, transport authorities refuse to take on the challenge. After all, its hard work to train all motorists. Or is it?
According to German manufacturer BMW, driver training will reduce the road toll as well as cut down on the enormous cost that road accidents have on our economy.
“We have invested a lot of money and resources over 30 years because we know it saves lives,” BMW board member responsible for safety Dr Klaus Draeger said.
BMW training recently turned 30, and with the data collected by BMW it seems that although driver training does not lead to accident free drivers, it dramatically cuts the trained drivers accident rate.
“We can’t say that people who have been with us are not involved in accidents because they still are. But they are involved a lot less than others. The problem if you are working from a purely academic perspective is how do you count accidents that do not happen?” Dr Draeger said
He also went on to admit that no amount of driver training would make inherently bad drivers… good drivers, and there is obviously the natural ability which comes into play.
“The problem is both the mindset and the skill of the driver and changing that takes a long time. The earlier we start the better it is and the better we can get them to drive,” Draeger says.
Dr Draeger took the words right out of our mouth by asking the state and federal governments to enforce compulsary advanced driver training for all drivers, specially those just starting out.
“Governments should make it compulsory to go through driver training schools” Dr Draeger said
Its obvious that BMW is also fed up with the lack of government action to tackle the road toll. Whilst the government blames speed as the single biggest cause of accidents, little is done to actually teach drivers how to stop in an emergency situation.
“How can governments claim people can drive safely when none of them knows how to stop a car in an emergency? People are released on to the road without learning what happens when it goes wrong. They don’t know how to do an emergency stop and this is the biggest problem.” Dr Draeger said
Unfortunately for Dr Draeger, he is preaching to the converted, we whole-heartedly agree with everything he has said, and yet despite all our efforts and all the efforts of our friends at RoadSense.com.au – the authorities refuse to act on the issue. No one wants to take the responsibility to enforce better driving training.
“Studies reveal that, on average, every person is involved in nine accidents during his or her life. That’s an accident every five years and he or she actually causes an accident every nine years.
“And the reason for 95 per cent of accidents is human error. Assuming that each participant in a driving safety course was involved in only one accident less during the course of their lives, that would be a wonderful achievement.” Dr Draeger said.
Given these figures, its statistically obvious that driver training is essential to ensure a safer road environment, even if accidents are reduced by 1 accident per person, the effect would be enormous!
Arguably the most successful German manufacturer in the last decade, BMW is a little reluctant to directly blame the road toll on the authorities lack of understanding. However Dr Draeger was willing to cast doubt on the state government Road Safety plan which refuses to conceed that driver training will reduce the road toll whilst favouring older drivers and lower speed limits.
Thank you BMW, you have earned our respect.