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Coalition To Fund Learner Driver Program, RACV Seeks Highway Upgrades Photo:
Trevor Collett | Aug, 23 2013 | 1 Comment

The Coalition has announced its intentions to fund the continuation of the Keys2Drive learner-driver program, if elected to power next month.

The program has been in place since 2008, with funding scheduled to cease at the end of this year but the Coalition has now promised $10 million to ensure the program continues.

Keys2Drive is a road-safety initiative, providing free ‘professional’ driving lessons to young drivers as they prepare for life on their P-plates.

The program also provides tuition for the parents of young drivers to make them better role models for their children.

Data from the program shows that since 2008, young drivers who have participated in the scheme were 50 percent less likely to be involved in a collision, compared to their peers.

The Australian Automobile Association’s Chief Executive, Andrew McKellar, has welcomed the funding pledge.

"It is very encouraging to see a significant commitment to road safety in the context of the federal election campaign," Mr McKellar said.

"Young drivers face a significantly increased crash risk when they transition from their L-plates to their P-plates and this program is intended to assist young people to be better drivers and safer drivers.”

The pledge forms part of the Coalition’s “Improve Road Safety” plan, which also includes $6.7 billion for Queensland’s Bruce Highway, $3 billion for Sydney’s Westconnex and Melbourne’s East-West Link and funding for road projects in Adelaide, Tasmania and Perth amongst others.

Roads To Recovery and Black Spot programs would also continue, with $350 million and $60 million per year pledged to each program respectively.

Keeping the pressure on local candidates, however, Victoria’s RACV has called for additional funding to upgrade the Western and Princes Highways to Melbourne’s west.

RACV’s Dave Jones said the latest AusRAP results showed that the Western Highway in particular was missing key safety features.

“Twenty-three percent of the Western Freeway/Highway obtained an unacceptable 1- or 2-star AusRAP safety rating,” Mr Jones said.

“This is a dreadful result; the Western Highway is one of the state’s key routes connecting regional communities such as Ballarat, Horsham and Stawell and is the main route from Melbourne to Adelaide.”

The call comes as part of the Demand Better Roads campaign, which continues in the lead up to the federal election on Saturday, September 7.

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