The National Roads and Motorists' Association (NRMA) will distribute a CD-ROM to year nine and ten students from 2005, the group said today. The CD-ROM is designed to teach L and P plate drivers about road safety.
The CD-ROM, entitled Shift 2nd Gear, was first developed by the NRMA on 2000 to "help prevent deaths and injuries among young drivers and passengers".
NRMA chief executive officer Tony Stuart said the group is "delighted that NSW state government will put Shift 2nd Gear into high schools for the first time".
"While debate continues to rage about proposed young driver restrictions, Shift 2nd Gear is a positive way that we can influence the attitudes of young people before they get behind the wheel of a car," said Stuart. "Young people are the future of motoring in NSW. We need to teach responsible attitudes to driving now - before they get their L or P plates."
Users of the program are presented with a number of cartoon scenarios followed by a list of choices to answer such questions as "which car is in the wrong" or "who should give way".
According to the NRMA, the CD-ROM also allows users to produce a news report, investigate a crash and drive a virtual car in a range of situations to test their understanding of road rules.
Stuart said "it was important for young people to learn about hazard detection, decision making and risk taking at an early stage".
He added that "parents can also play an important role when their children become learner drivers by giving them more on road experience in a variety of conditions."
"The more supervised time spent behind the wheel before obtaining a licence, the better the driver will perform on his or her own."
The NRMA said despite drivers under 25 making up only 16 percent of licences in NSW, the group makes up almost one-third of all of the states car accidents. The association said last year 90 people aged from 17-25 were killed on the road in NSW, with 5,492 injured in vehicle crashes.
The NRMA said it also exploring other methods of getting young people involved in road safety issues, including telephone and Internet surveys to "establish young people's driving habits".