ROCKHAMPTON'S Bailee Murray had the wheels screeching as she slammed her foot on the brakes.

The 16-year-old was one of 24 Rockhampton Grammar School students who participated in the Jason Rich Foundation Defensive Driving course yesterday at the Gracemere Saleyards.

Bailee has had her learners for two weeks and said she had learnt a lot about safe driving from the practical course.

"I had to drive around the track and break as hard as I could on the wet road when the instructor blew the whistle," she said.

"I was really shocked at how long it took for the car to break even though I wasn't doing a high speed and it was really good to practise reacting in wet conditions. I also learnt how to correctly position my seat which is something that's really important for drivers to know.

"I definitely feel more confident in driving now that I've done the course. The program is really well created and it's a great way to get students out here learning about driver safety."

The Jason Rich Foundation was established in May 2011 by Jason's parents Wayne and Tracey after Jason lost his life in a single vehicle accident. The foundation aims to educate students in the Central Queensland region in defensive driving and has already had 800 students complete the safety course since its establishment. The foundation aims to have one million kids through the course by the end of 2070.

Foundation operator and Jason's mum Tracey, 51, said she would like to see the Defensive Driving course become a mandatory part of the schooling system.

"I think it should be mandatory for students and the ultimate aim of the foundation is to get every student in Central Queensland through this course before they graduate," she said.

"A driving instructor once said to me that students are taught to pass a test, they aren't taught to drive a car and they should all be doing courses like this so they learn to drive safely and know how to react quickly in a situation.

"I've had parents come back to me and tell me that this course saved their son's life because they used the skills they were taught when they had an accident."

All of the high schools from the Capricorn Coast, Rockhampton and Gladstone are participating in the Defensive Driving course this year. Tracey and the Safe Drive Training instructors will visit Emerald for the first time tomorrow.

DONATE TO JRF:

Rockhampton business JBS donated close to $10,000 to the foundation yesterday which equates to 60 students being funded for the course.

If you are a business in the area who wishes to donate to the foundation visit the Jason Rich Foundation Facebook page.

LATEST QLD ROAD FATALITIES 2011:

  • The Queensland road toll was 269 fatalities during 2011 which was 20 fatalities greater than 2010.
  • The highest percentage of fatal crashes were single vehicle crashes at 45.8%.
  • The rate of fatal crash involvement for drivers and riders aged 17-20 years was the highest of any age group during 2011.
  • Other than those aged 16 years, drivers and riders aged 60-74 years had the lowest rate of fatal crash involvement during 2011.

Source: Queensland Government 2011 Fatal Road Traffic Crashes in Queensland.



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