SAFETY FIRST: Tracey Rich from the Jason Rich Foundation, with Ben Barnes and Senior Constable Leicha Edwards, is encouraging defensive driver training for young people.
SAFETY FIRST: Tracey Rich from the Jason Rich Foundation, with Ben Barnes and Senior Constable Leicha Edwards, is encouraging defensive driver training for young people. Rokcmcars

Foundation driving home road safety message

BEN Barnes is in Year 10 and still a year away from that magical rite of passage, the learner's permit.

But Ben's parents, Andrea and Peter, are determined that by the time their son is old enough to drive, he will have some experience under his belt.

The family are all into cars and introduced Ben to the sport of motorkhana in February last year through the Central Queensland Motor Sports Club.

While motorkhana might be great fun, the club has a strong junior development program to promote safer driving and driver education in a controlled environment.

But it was another club that stepped up recently to support the idea of safer driving among young people when the All Classic Car Club of CQ presented the Jason Rich Foundation with a cheque to cover the cost of putting 100 provisional drivers through a defensive driving course.

Jason Rich died in a tragic accident on Rockhampton-Yeppoon Rd in 2009, not long before his 21st birthday.

His mother Tracey and best mate Jacob McLuskie jointly started the Jason Rich Foundation with the aim to put a million young Australians through defensive driver training by 2070.

Since 2011 the target has reached almost 1000 and now with the help of the All Classic Car Club, another 100 will have that chance.

Tracey Rich said the courses were funded by the Jason Rich Foundation and run by Safe Drive Training.

"The first thing they learn to do is brake in the wet, and they really make them slam the brakes on," Tracey said. "Sometimes P platers can get a bit cocky, but this knocks it out of them pretty quickly."

The cheque was handed to Tracey by All Classic Car Club president Glen Hamilton after raising money from gold coin donations at Classics by the Coast.

More than 350 vehicles and almost 10,000 people headed to Emu Park for the event earlier this month.

The money will be used to train local Year 12 students in a bid to halt horrific road statistics.



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