GOOD IDEA FOR SA: The JPSA says there's no time like the present to implement driver training at school level. Image: iStock
Cape Town - Earlier in January, Wheels24 reported on the Minister of Transport, Dipuo Peters' announcement that the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) is currently implementing numerous road safety school projects.
Peters said: "The Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) is planning to implement the provision of driving simulators programme during the 2017/18 period in order to ensure that learner drivers are given the opportunity to develop and enhance their skills to become good and safe drivers.
"Part of the long term initiative to establish and enhance road safety relates to the skilling of our drivers, particularly those who will be acquiring licenses for the first time. Our intended purpose is to work with the Department of Basic Education to include the driving lessons at high school as part of the curriculum.
READ: Finally! SA children could learn how to drive at school again
Justice Project South Africa's chairman Howard Dembowsky says: "The concept of introducing driver training into the High School curriculum is not new, and has been spoken of repeatedly during the current Minister’s tenure.
"On the face of it, the idea is good, since it would introduce a formalised driver skills driver training regime into the education system and provided that those doing the teaching are properly qualified and skilled driving instructors, this can only be hailed as a positive step in the right direction.
"This said, it is hoped that the curriculum will include comprehensive training on the rules of the road, road signs, etc. which would include making it clear why these rules are necessary and must be adhered to, prior to moving onto practical driving lessons. Furthermore, driving simulators come in many different shapes and forms and whilst some of them are excellent (and hugely expensive), some are not-so great.
"As the Minister correctly points out, the practical training of learner drivers is a long term programme. It is therefore doubtful whether it will be practically possible to roll this out to all High Schools any time soon.
"The same is not true of theoretical training on the rules of the road and road safety in general, and it is our assertion that this should become part of the formal education curriculum from the earliest stages of education.
"The odd visit from the RAF, RTMC and/or private initiatives like Imperial Group’s “Bongie”, whilst invaluable, is not enough and it is our view that it is essential to drum road safety into the minds of young people from the second that they can walk and understand the spoken word."
"Achieving this would not take anywhere near as long as it will take to introduce practical driver training and won’t be even remotely as costly. There is no time like the present to make a start on such an initiative and one would hope that this forms part of plans of the Departments of Transport and of Basic Education.
"The time for talk and impressive speeches is over. Let’s see some action."