Neighbourhood Central, Parkes Rotary form partnership to pursue purchase of driving simulator

Michael Ross (driving) and Jayden Terrill (observing).
Michael Ross (driving) and Jayden Terrill (observing).

Senior students of Parkes High School spent three days last year learning about the effects of alcohol, drugs and distraction on driving. They participated in training on a driving simulator provided by the Rotary Club of Young in collaboration with Neighbourhood Central.

Frank Lincoln of Young Rotary said the students pair up to experience two training modules on the simulator.

"With the 'impaired driving' module, a participant first drives for about five minutes to experience normal driving conditions. Then they stop, the simulator screens blur a little, and delays are inserted into braking and steering responses," he said.

"The participant drives again for about five minutes and the difference between normal and impaired driving are compared by means of a statistical report. The experience provides a powerful demonstration of the effects of drugs and alcohol on driving ability.

"Distraction is demonstrated by asking candidates to read text messages and carry out simple mental tasks while driving. They experience how difficult it is to maintain control when distracted."

Secretary of the Rotary Club of Parkes, Ken Engsmyr said Neighbourhood Central and Parkes Rotary have formed a partnership to pursue purchasing a simulator to be based in Parkes but available to schools within a radius of say 100km.

"Trials at local schools with the Young simulator are helping us to determine the demand for a locally based simulator," he said.

"There is little doubt about the need for simulator training to compliment other safe driving programs for learner and newly licenced drivers: road fatalities for young drivers make it clear that more stills needs to be done to improve their safety on our roads.

"A local simulator will also be available for programs like seniors driving tests and providing upgrade training for people that for some reason have been disqualified."