IPSWICH State High School senior students yesterday became the first school kids in Australia to test out the new CARMA program driving simulator and they had a special guest teacher to help out.
V8 Supercar driver Russell Ingall, who was himself involved in a four-car pile-up in the Melbourne V8 race on Saturday, introduced the students to a new age in learner-driver training designed to keep them out of trouble.
Ingall, who is a CARMA brand safety ambassador, is proud to be part of a program that brings technology usually reserved for professional pilots and drivers to society's highest-risk road users.
"Simulators have been around for years, but very rarely do we see them used for driver training," he said.
"They are getting so realistic now I think it is a great initiative."
The privately funded joint venture between auto parts retailer Supercheap Auto and driversafety.com.au will take the simulators to 25 schools across Queensland during the initial phase of the education program.
Ingall said the simulator training should become a required part of the licensing process.
"Driving is like going to school, some people are good at maths and some need further tuition," he said. "At least when you practice on a simulator it has a reset button if things get a bit ugly.
"These are the sort of things governments should look into.
Program developer Russell White said the training had the potential to change the attitude of many young drivers.
"Our commitment is to try to change the culture on our roads by applying a different range of principles to what we normally associate with driver education," Mr White said.
"We see simulated technology as the next generation in road safety. The earlier you can get to someone to mould those behaviours and techniques the better."
Mr White hopes the program can be rolled out nationally and eventually would like to see simulator hours form part of a learner driver's log book.