DRIVER TRAINERS AS ASSESSORS FOR LICENSING.
The problems associated with the systems of Competency Based Assessment (CBA) for cars and heavy vehicles in South Australia and for Heavy Vehicles in NSW are, to a large extent, difficult to track due to the lack of any effective auditing and monitoring of Driver Trainers before or after these systems were introduced. As a result the ?honour? of being able to ?sign off? new drivers as competent was given to a large number of Driver Trainers, who were not properly trained to do a difficult job properly. This has become apparent in a recent study in South Australia, showing no difference in the crash rate of new drivers after the system was introduced.
In the case of the Heavy Vehicle Assessors in NSW, many were given the Assessor Licence after a short course but with no check of previous records as to their ability to teach or assess. The sporadic monitoring of these assessors has caused the Licensing Authorities real concern, but with no system in place to thoroughly check the ability of the individual driver trainer to either train or assess, it is very difficult to find out where the problems are, or to be able to rectify them.
If driver trainers were to individually ?earn? the right to assess new drivers, rather than be given that right ?en masse? there would be a greater incentive to do the job properly, particularly if the option was to lose that right, if performance expectations were not met. At present there is no hierarchal process in the Driver Training Industry with the result that many good and potentially good people are lost to the Industry through an inability to ?climb the ladder.? There is the potential for many driver trainers to improve their performance markedly if there was reward for their efforts. This would result in an increase in the number of safe and competent new drivers throughout Australia.
At the Road Safety Education, Policing and Research Conference in Brisbane, November 2000, the Australian Driver Trainers Association (the national industry association) presented a paper on the development of Curriculum Guidelines and Training Packages for the use of all driving schools and driver trainers throughout Australia. Driving Schools and Driver Trainers are able to develop their own programs and training packages from these Guidelines. These are critical to the overall approach of ?getting the message over?. The education and training of new drivers must be given in a thorough, sequential and organised fashion if there is to be any effect on the overall problem of new driver road safety.