Labor leader Daniel Andrews announced the ‘Road Safety Starts Early’ program this week, describing the scheme as a ‘world first’.
Under the proposal, a dedicated road safety centre would be constructed with the purpose of educating drivers on the dangers they may face behind the wheel.
The centre will aim to demonstrate the consequences of poor driving choices using simulators and exhibitions, along with presentations from road trauma victims and emergency workers.
Labor dubbed the ambitious project “the global hub for road safety”, with visions that road safety experts from around the world will be drawn to the facility in the future.
Every year 10 student will be enrolled in a half-day defensive driving course which will become compulsory for those wishing to gain their driver’s licence in the future.
Labor is pledging $16 million for the ‘L2P’ program, which matches disadvantaged youth with a trained supervisor to discourage unlicensed driving and assist participants in earning a driver’s licence.
A further $7 million would be allocated to an incentive scheme for young drivers, which rewards those with zero demerit points after four years on ‘P’ plates with a free licence for three years.
But Victoria’s peak motoring group - the RACV - is wary of the new scheme, raising what it says are “significant concerns” about compulsory defensive driver training.
“We believe the existing Graduated Licensing System with its minimum of 120 hours supervised on-road driving for learner drivers has proven to be effective in reducing crashes involving young motorists,” RACV’s Brian Negus said.
“Our research shows that there is no sound evidence that off-road driver training reduces crashes in the younger demographic of drivers and off-road driver training may, in fact, give Learners a false sense of confidence.”