"Last week Victoria Police in partnership with the Wellington Shire Youth Council bought the Virtual Reality Driving Simulator to all the secondary schools in our area. We attended a different school each day and put approximately 470 students through the program.
The students were introduced to the idea of positive driving and the problems associated with driver distractions and road hazards. The students who got to drive the car were given different scenarios with either speed, using a mobile phone, or road hazards such as pedestrians or a cars backing out as the issue. The students watching the screen got to witness, like a passenger what could happen in any of these scenarios. Both the students and teachers thought the program was good and some said better than expected. They enjoyed the fact that you drove a real car and that it was quite realistic.
The program covered aspects of Victoria Police’s aim to reduce the Country Road Toll in 2011 as a police intelligence report into regional trauma in 2010 found major contributing factors to fatal and serious injury collisions were Speed, Fatigue, Distraction, Alcohol, Fail to wear a Seat Belt and Failure to Give Way. All of these factors were covered during the 45 minute program delivery.
Darren was very professional in his approach to us as the organisers as well as to the teachers and students that he addressed.
Feedback from the students have stated that “they would drive slower”, “take more care”, “always wear a seatbelt never get in without one”, “I won’t keep my mobile phone on while driving so I won’t have the temptation to answer it.”"
R A BASFORD Senior Constable & S.REGGARDO Senior Constable
“Having had the chance to both watch non-driver students and then as an experienced driver 'drive' the car linked to the simulator myself, I am convinced the simulator will give those that use it a realistic experience that will bring enormous benefit to their attitude toward the real thing. The realisation that you cannot always predict a situation and so need be alert and concentrate is a great way to start to think about driving. Even younger people who will only be passengers can get an appreciation of the challenges faced when driving. Even as 'back seat' drivers these passengers can influence driver behaviour and so encourage those driving to stay alert, stay safe and protect all in the car and other road users.
I hope the simulator is made available as a standard part of driver education both in schools and with driving instructors”.
Dr Duncan McFetridge BSc(Vet) BVMS BSc(Ag) DipT MP JP
Member for Morphett
Shadow Minister for Health
Shadow Minister for Mental Health
Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs & Reconciliation
Steve Bousfield - Westminster School Principal
“In 2009 the School was fortunate to trial some of this new technology with its students. Many students commented on the ease of use and realism of the simulator.”
“This technology is invaluable for students to learn how to become safe drivers and build crucial awareness of on-road hazards and how they can be avoided. With so many of our young people dying on our roads we must provide every opportunity to reduce the risks.”
John Kosmina – Former Arsenal player and ex- coach of Adelaide United and Sydney FC.
“This is a serious program. I can see it making a big impact.”
Kevin Brooks – Former U.S. NBL and Adelaide 36ers Basketball player
“This is fantastic. Any help you need with promoting the program just let me know.”
Brett Maher – Adelaide 36ers legend
“T his makes you realise how scary driving can be.”
Phil Smyth – Ex Australia player and former 36ers player and coach
“I don’t use my mobile a lot but I can guarantee you that after this I won’t be using it while driving!”
Jane Woodlands-Thompson – Adelaide Thunderbirds coach
“Well done on an excellent initiative Darren. This should really save some lives.”
16 year old male
“I learnt to be more aware of pedestrians and when to slow down.”
“You should not swerve to avoid things if you are going fast.”
16 year old male
“There are more things to watch than I expected.”
“Hazards are always hiding behind parked cars.”
“The simulator taught me how to think as a driver.”
15 year old female
“I was expecting it to be like a video game but once put in the real life situation it was a big surprise.”
“I learnt that you must always slow down when approaching traffic lights.”
“I learnt how little we can actually see from the driver’s seat.”
16 year old female
“It was really realistic and a great representation of the difficulties of driving on roads.”
“I watched as many of my friends struggled with obstacles. Speed was the main problem.”
“You can’t trust other road users like cyclists and pedestrians.”
“When Darren showed us the bids eye view it made me realised how little we can see from the driver’s seat.”
“I found this a really different learning experience and one that I find beneficial to my future driving.”
15 year old male
“I didn’t expect so many surprises. Driving is so dangerous!”
16 year old male
I thought it would be some kind of booth, not a real car.”
“I learnt that it’s best to be thinking as if something is going to happen so you are already prepared.”
16 year old female
“I didn’t think it would be so real.”
“Many dangers happen so quickly.”
“It teaches us that driving’s very serious.”