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Call to maintain funding for learner safety program

​The RACT is calling for funding to be maintained for a highly successful learner driver safety program in the 9 May Federal Budget.

​​The keys2drive program provides a free 60-minute lesson with a professional driving instructor for learners and their parent/supervisor.

​"The training provides participants with a plan to assist them to be safer drivers as they begin the often traumatic experience of learning to drive," RACT Motoring Services Manager Peter Gillon said.

"It is a fact that when a young person obtains a P1 licence and can drive independently, they become the highest risk group on the road and are more likely to be involved in a crash than any other age group."

Vyv Alomes, of Dodges Ferry, who participated in the program today with a 22-year-old family friend who is learning to drive, said it would be terrible if the program was axed.

"It's a great program. What it does is it educates me, as a supervisor driver, so I can supervise her now in the same level and the same manner as the RACT Driving Instructors, to encourage that person to be more responsible and motivate them to be a better driver.

"It's very comprehensive, it's very thorough, it's very instructive but it's also very empowering to young people to drive carefully and safely and responsibly.

"We end up with better and safer drivers from a program like this." 

Mr Gillon said that in Tasmania, from 30 June 2016 to today, 872 lessons were delivered under the program.

"As there is currently no government funding beyond 30 June this year allocated for keys2drive, an important resource for our young drivers will be lost," he said.

"Cutting funding for these potentially life-saving lessons is short-sighted. 

"In the first six months of a young person having their P-plates they are 20 times more likely to be harmed in a crash than when they were on their L-plates.

"We need to do more to equip learner drivers with the skills they require to be safe on the roads, and keys2drive can certainly assist with this." 

The RACT is calling for a long-term commitment to keys2drive for at least four years to provide certainty for the program.

The RACT has also identified a number of road infrastructure projects that needed urgent attention in a budget submission to the Federal Government.

The road works identified are:

  • ​Bass Highway intersections at Wynyard – rationalise the number of intersections and upgrade one to become the primary access / crossing point ($15 million).
  • Eastern Hobart approach – increase capacity and improve traffic flow on the eastern approach to the Hobart CBD ($300 million).
  • Bridgewater Bridge – construct replacement four-lane Bridgewater Bridge and associated new junctions ($600 million).