05 January 200
Eve Somssich with
potential participant for University's Driver Education and
January 2004 marks the seventh year of providing safer, qualified
driver training for remote Northern Territory communities by Charles
Darwin University’s Remote Areas Driver Instructor Program.
Delivered by the University’s Driver Education & Training
Unit, the Program has trained more than 150 instructors in communities
from Arnhem Land to Central Australia with more than 900 people
successfully gaining their license.
“The necessity to drive in remote communities leads many
to drive without proper training and without a driver’s licence,”
said Eve Somssich, Manager Driver Education & Training Unit
at Charles Darwin University.
“A tragic aspect of this is that Indigenous people account
for about 50 per cent of the Northern Territory’s annual road
toll while representing 28 per cent of our population, “ said
“Given that Indigenous people are over represented in crash
statistics it is vital that relevant and meaningful training is
provided, particularly in remote areas,” Eve said.
First established in 1997 through the support of TIO, an important
aspect of Program is the Course for Community Based Driving Instructors
that has been designed in consultation with Motor Vehicle Registration.
The two week course teaches local participants to be driving instructors
within their remote community with training covering road law and
extensive in-car training including defensive and economical driving
practices and vehicle maintenance. In response to literacy needs,
school teachers and adult educators are often invited and encouraged
to participate onto the course to deliver theory components.
“Successful participants gain recognition toward a Certificate
IV in Driving Instruction and are issued with a Restricted Driving
Instructors Endorsement allowing them to deliver driver training
within their community,” said Eve.
Despite inroads being made into qualified, safer driving, Eve emphasised
that the University’s Remote Areas Driver Training Program
is not a quick fix program.
“This is a program with long-term goals and strategies in
mind to alleviate some of the difficulties experienced by remotely
based Indigenous people in obtaining their drivers licence,”
The Unit will kick off 2004 with Community Based Instructor courses
to be conducted at Mutijulu (Uluru), Alice Springs and Katherine
to name a few. A driver safety video featuring local indigenous
students will also be released during the year.
For more information contact Eve Somssich, Manager Driver Education
and Training Unit, Charles Darwin University on 8946 6253 or 0408