Learner-driver education programme deemed revolutionary

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Learning the rules of the road. (Image: courtesy of Rosy from Pixabay)

The learner-driver education programme in high schools is being touted as a catalyst that will promote and improve road safety across Jamaica. Transport and Mining Minister Hon. Audley Shaw says the initiative will ensure that students learn proper techniques that will help them to become responsible drivers. “The Ministry of Transport and Mining believes that this programme will be a valuable addition to our high-school curriculum, providing students with knowledge and skills they need to become safe and responsible,” he indicated. Shaw was speaking during the western Jamaican launch of the Road Code Test in secondary schools at Little London High in Westmoreland on 24 March. The initiative has, so far, been implemented in four secondary institutions islandwide, the others being York Castle High in St Ann, and St Jago and Jonathon Grant high schools in St Catherine.

Shaw said the Ministry is committed to working with schools “to ensure that our young people are equipped with the tools they need to make smart and informed decisions when it comes to driving on our roads”. He noted that the Ministry’s Road Safety Unit (RSU) constantly receives reports about unqualified and inexperienced young people driving motor vehicles. Shaw pointed out that the Ministry is looking to curtail this occurrence through this new initiative. “This is why the Island Traffic Authority and the Road Safety Unit are working with the schools across the island to ensure that the road code is understood and applied when traversing the roadways. Through this programme, high-school students will be able to take the road-code test which covers a wide range of topics related to road safety”.

Shaw further noted that areas such as road and vehicular safety, defensive driving theory, practical driving skills and getting the learner’s permit are being covered under the programme. “There are many potential benefits [to be derived from the programme]. It will help to reduce the number of crashes caused by inexperienced drivers, improve driving skills by teaching young people the rules of the road and proper driving techniques, [and] increase confidence,” he indicated.

A total of 22 students and seven teachers at Little London High School sat the Island Traffic Authority’s written road-code test. If successful, they will receive their learner’s permit, which will allow them to operate a motor vehicle, accompanied by a licensed driver. The school driver-education curriculum has been developed with the assistance of the HEART/NSTA Trust and the RSU.

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