Steering young drivers in the right direction

 Nicole Lowe-Tarbert gets the simulation under way. During her time in the simulator she drove while distracted and while "under the influence".
Nicole Lowe-Tarbert gets the simulation under way. During her time in the simulator she drove while distracted and while "under the influence".

Year 10 students from Cowra High School have been hitting the road in a manner of speaking.

The students have been taking part in the Young Rotary Club’s Driving Training Simulator, which has been traveling around the region.

Young Rotary Club Youth Director, Frank Lincoln, said the decision to take the simulator on the road was at the request of the Cootamundra LAC.

“The simulator, which is the second one of its kind in NSW, was purchased for the Young PCYC with some money we had,” he said.

“An American university had shown this type of simulator had lowered the accident rate of new drivers in their first two years of having a licence by two-thirds.

“Both Young high schools approached us after seeing the simulator in action and asked us to bring it to the schools and put the Year 10s through the under the influence and texting modules.

“Representatives from the Cootamundra LAC also spent three hours watching the students and then told us they’d like to see it taken to all the schools in the command,” he said.

Mr Lincoln said the simulator was a unique opportunity for students to experience difficult situations that no driving instructor or parent can give them.

He said that 2017 had been an excellent year for the simulator and they would look forward to Rotary and the simulator being involved in driver education on a wider scale.

Cowra High School Head Teacher Wellbeing, Anthony Hamer, said the simulator had been “magic” and was keen to see it return to the school.

“Having the simulator here all originally started in Term One with a teacher who is no longer here, Brian Edmonds,” he said.

“Brian had seen the Young Rotary simulator when he attended the Science and Engineering challenge over there.

“He brought a pamphlet back to our well being team meeting and suggested it as a worthwhile addition to our student wellbeing program.

“We’ve engaged with Rotary through the RYDA program for a decade or so now but this is a really, really good hands on simulator that the kids would not have access to otherwise.

“In terms of age group, we are targeting the Year 10s, because they are the newest lot of L plate holders and there’s nothing like this for them apart from the real thing of being on the road,” he said.

Year 10 student Nicole Lowe-Tarbert agreed the simulator was a good learning tool.

“The feel of it is a little bit different from real life, I have my L’s and have been on the road, because it is a simulator it’s a bit different, but it’s a good tool,” she said.

“I’d definitely have another go at it if they came back, everyone should give it a go”.