Mike Stevens | Jun 18, 2010

Former V8 Supercar champion Mark Skaife is taking his nearly 20 year-long driver safety and training campaign to a new level, calling on Australia's governments to explore radical ways to bring down the national road toll.

As part of a new proposal for improving road safety, Skaife wants government to consider massive investment in new driver training programs, to the extent of cutting parents out of the process all together.

"With the best intention in the world, too many parents pass on their own bad habits. We have to avoid that, which is why I believe we need to move to professional driver trainers in Australia," Skaife said.

"Kids are being taught how to pass the test, rather than how to actually drive the car."

Skaife, himself a parent, proposes that young drivers would be better off learning through a process similar to that followed for motorcycle riders, with classroom learning before any time is spent with the vehicle, followed by driver training conducted by professional trainers.

"In Australia, the focus is on modifying driver behaviour through punishment and penalties."

"In Germany, it starts with better training, better roads, and better cars - putting young drivers into newer, safer vehicles," Skaife said in a special program aired on Channel 7.

Other areas Skaife wants to see reviewed include road design and speed limits, suggesting that on Australia's newer roads, limits up to 140km/h would be both safe and appropriate.

"I'm not advocating a culture where everyone speeds, but we seem to have gotten it wrong: we've made it difficult to drive safely, and we've yet to learn how to teach our children the techniques that will keep them alive."

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