The Total Driver program has been implemented at TACAPS after a recent article exposed that the road toll is costing the community $32 million annually.

It emphasises a holistic approach to improving learner driver’s competencies, where input is required from students, their schools, and parents.

Minister for Main Roads and Road Safety, Mark Bailey, said there will be less emphasis placed on how to park during the program and more significance placed on dealing with life-threatening traffic hazards.

“We will be targeting merging lanes at high-speed, safe turns across oncoming traffic, concentrating on safe following distances, and there will be zero tolerance for speeding during the practice driving tests,” he said.

Griffith University discovered the Total Driver program creates a shift in drivers’ mentality from reactive to proactive behaviours, which has been linked to reducing risk and preventing accidents.

It places a core focus on the psychological, emotional, and attitudinal development of students as drivers, and places less importance on merely passing the driving test to becoming better, safer, and prepared as a licensed driver.
Recent graduate from Currumbin on the Gold Coast, Sakisha Dovey, said that although her parents taught her the basics when she was learning to drive, she was a messy driver and lacked confidence on the roads.

“I immediately felt at ease with my Total Driver instructor, who was always calm, friendly and reassuring. He was always on time and I looked forward to every single lesson to learn something new; I was not once disappointed,” she said.

The Total Driver Program covers areas such as postural stability, hand to eye technique and coordination, muscle memory, hazard perception, and decision making processes such as judging long distance, and developing peripheral vision skills.

Parents are also reinforced active participants during driving lessons including what to practice, how to reinforce practice, how much practice is required, and defining practice routes in a cumulative process of driver development.

Mother from the Gold Coast, Janelle Beverley, says she was involved in a fatal car accident when she was younger where she drove through a stop sign and was t-boned by a council truck. She has recently signed up to the Total Driver program with her daughter through her daughter’s school.

“The course was extremely useful as it taught me a lot about how cars act in various situations, as well as how to avoid them, both in theory and in practical training…this really helped me regain my confidence,” she said.

RACQ spokesperson, Joe Fitzgerald, believes the Total Driver program will reap numerous economic benefits and that this will reduce the number of fatalities on the roads considerably.