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WE MUST STOP ROAD CARNAGE; Experts say better driver training is way forward.

ROAD accidents are the second biggest killer in the world after Aids, claiming 1.25million lives a year.

But experts say these shocking figures, along with an even higher number of people injured, could be dramatically cut simply by better driver training.

And the Driver Education World Conference suggested immediate action should be taken in order to reduce this carnage.

The conference, organised by the International Association for Driver Education (IVV), brought together international road safety experts and academics, and they urged the world's Governments to highlight the need for better driver education.

Speaking to the conference, held in London last month, Monica Schaefer, of the Irish Driver Education Association, acknowledged that, while cars have become safer, drivers have become complacent.

She said: "It's about the driver. The driver is the person we need to change.

"We've made the changes in the vehicle, we've made the changes in the roads ... but it always comes back to the person behind the wheel."

James Evans, publisher of 1st Car magazine, suggested it is not only the attitudes of young drivers that have to change, but attitudes towards young drivers.

Rather than constantly berating them, he advises empathy to understand their attitudes in order to change their behaviour.

He said: "We've got 16 and 17-year-olds thinking it's their Godgiven right to drive."

He warned that the growing lack of responsibility within society has changed drivers' attitudes such as "No-win, no-fee".

He added: "I trip over a crack in the pavement, it's not my fault. It's always someone else's fault. What does that do to our attitudes?"

Sir John Whitmore, executive chairman of Performance Consultants International, said drivers need to be taught awareness and responsibility rather than instruction to enable drivers to learn more efficiently.

Sir John said: "It's not how many miles you do purely, it's how aware you are. How much learning is happening for each mile?

"There are plenty of people who do 50,000 miles and learn nothing."

The IVV are continuing their efforts to reduce road traffic crashes globally through improved driver education and training.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 6, 2008
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