A Mornington Peninsula drive skills program is leading the way in young driver education and parent support. Launched last month, the Blue P program supports learner drivers and their parents with practical driver safety and skills training.
The customised program provides parents and carers, and their learner drivers with on the road experience, personal parent support, skills tuition and a comprehensive booklet featuring checklists and information to encourage respectful and safe driving with a fully accredited driving instructor.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau reports that in their first year of driving, young drivers in Victoria are almost four times more likely to be involved in a fatal or serious injury crash than more experienced drivers.
Recognising that road rules have changed since many parents first got their licences, and their driving skills may become habitual, the Blue P program support parents through the process and removes barriers for young people who may feel challenged in gaining their licence. A reassuring series of lessons helps the learner drivers gain ability on Peninsula roads, prevent risk-taking behaviour and make informed assessments while offering parents with after lesson support and guidance to address any concerns.
Sarah Bruce was a licence tester for Vic Roads before starting her business Drive Skills 4 Life. She developed the Blue P Program to equip learner drivers, and their supervising parents with the skills and safety awareness necessary for the mandatory 120-hour driving experience and testing, laying a foundation for safe road use throughout their lives.
"So many parents feel nervous about habits they have formed behind the wheel, changes to road rules, and the pressure of becoming a teacher for their young adult for such important skills," says Sarah.
"There's a lot of stress behind parents teaching their learner drivers to find the balance between confidence and safety on our roads, but it's definitely an investment worth making."
"The Blue P program helps the driver and their support person through the whole process starting out with a drive skills refresher lesson with a parent or carer before embarking on dedicated and personalised lessons with their learner driver, and ongoing check-ins with parents for supervisory guidance available outside of lessons."
Sarah says that many of the program's clients are families grappling with work and shared family pressures, or experience levels of high anxiety, physical or mental health challenges. The Blue P program's personalised follow-up and interface with parents has been integral to the program's success.
Drive Skills 4 Life was recently announced as Peninsula Business Awards finalists for Education and Training and is highly respected for their ongoing support of numerous Peninsula charities particularly youth with accessibility issues, or who are experiencing anxiety and depression.
Kim, whose daughter Jess, is working to gain her probationary licence has been grateful for the tailored support of the program.
"I recently completed Stage 1 which gave me the skills and confidence to safely guide my very nervous 16 yo daughter in our driving sessions."
23 yo Jayden was equally grateful for his customised lessons and instructor Sarah's friendly approach: "I was always a bit anxious about driving after being in the passenger seat of a few accidents. Sarah's patience and compassion were exactly what I needed."
He said that without the Blue P program, he may not have had the confidence to learn to drive.
Drive Skills 4 Life Blue P Program operates from Mordialloc through to Mornington and Mt Martha, across to Cranbourne and Frankston.
Bookings can be made by contacting http://driveskills4life.com.au