Safety is looking up for young drivers across the state, with more than 7,000 participants now recruited for the P Drivers Project, Minister for Roads Terry Mulder said today.
Mr Mulder said the Victorian Coalition Government was calling for newly licensed drivers to get involved in the P Drivers Project. The research trial to monitor and assess the behaviour and attitudes of P plate drivers reached the 7,000 participant mark last week.
"Since October, newly licensed young drivers in Victoria and New South Wales have been going through the program, and we want more young drivers to get involved and make the research a success," Mr Mulder said.
"The national project, thought to be the largest research trial of its type ever undertaken in the world, is aiming to recruit 26,400 young drivers in Victoria and 1,600 in NSW.
"Though the task ahead is a big one to get more and more participants through the program, feedback has been overwhelmingly positive from those involved," Mr Mulder said.
The program involves either completing online surveys or attending group sessions with 8 to 10 P-platers led by a facilitator. Mr Mulder said the CAE facilitators had been very impressed with the level of engagement and discussion taking place amongst the participants.
"Not only are the young drivers keen to learn more about what it means to get behind the wheel of a car, they have also been offering experiences and ideas of their own," Mr Mulder said.
"The 'MyLiveTribe' program – as it's known to participants – is about learning from experienced coaches and sharing ideas with their peers."
Participants are rewarded for their time with sponsor-donated items such as movie tickets, petrol vouchers and the chance to win big prizes like a trip to Thailand or a new Toyota Yaris.
The program focuses on common driving behaviours that lead to serious injury or fatal crashes of young drivers. These include following distance, speed management, gap selection and hazard recognition and response.
Program participant Elizabeth said the driving session with a coach had shown her a number of things she hadn't realised were good and bad driving.
"It was great to find out what good driving habits are as opposed to the bad ones you might pick up from the other people you drive with," Elizabeth said.
"The coach reminded us that we are at a higher risk of having a crash because we are inexperienced and there is a lot of responsibility that goes along with that."
Dylan, who has also completed all three sessions, said his confidence has increased since participating in the program.
"I now feel confident because I have more knowledge and I am educated about the common causes of crashes for young drivers, instead of being confident because I think I know everything," Dylan said.
Mr Mulder said VicRoads, Transport Accident Commission, Transport for New South Wales, the Department of Infrastructure and Transport, Royal Automobile Club Victoria (RACV), NRMA Insurance and the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries were working together to reduce the incidence of young driver fatality through the $10 million trial of the behaviour change education program.
Newly licensed P-plate drivers are invited to participate in the trial via direct phone and mail recruitment and online self sign-up. For more information or to sign up to the P Drivers Project visit www.pdriversproject.com.au or call 1800 454 133.