Traffic program aims to save lives

By Roderick Shaw

BLACKTOWN'S Traffic Offenders Program could save more lives if learner drivers had to experience it, said the program's honorary chairman, David Bamford.

"The feedback we get from people in the program is that they should have had an opportunity to do this before they got their licence," Mr Bamford said. People charged with traffic offences can enrol in the program, which comprises a series of traffic-safety presentations.

Lecturers include police, ambulance officers, RTA officers and drug and alcohol experts. "Most of the videos shown are very strong, powerful," Mr Bamford said. "It's not a shock tactic, it's a reality check."

Glenwood ambulance officer Graham Symes started the Traffic Offenders Program in 1992.

Enrollees do assignments based on the presentations, which are assessed and delivered to the court before sentencing. "we make it clear that attending the program does not guarantee dismissal of the charge or reduction in sentence," Mr Bamford said.
But he believed the program had made people into better motorists.

Mr Bamford said Blacktown RSL's sponsorship made the program possible but that the State Government should now incorporate it into driver training.

"We're spending all this taxpayer's money at the end, when there's death and when there's injury," he said.

"A small percentage of that cost could be brought forward and a driver-education program put in place."

BLACKTOWN CITY SUN 29/03/05