By Ellen Morgan
Published: Thursday, July 9, 2020
Since being introduced in 2009, the Keys2drive program has assisted more than 23,000 South Australian learners and supervisors start their driving journey with safety and knowledge at the forefront.
The free sessions provide learner drivers and their parent or supervisor with a professional, accredited instructor to take them through a lesson that has both theory and practical components. The hour-long lesson aims to improve driver safety and equip learners with up-to-date information and road-rule knowledge.
The value of the lessons taken in South Australia since the program’s inception is estimated at around a million dollars, a saving that’s not just about protecting our pockets but hopefully, saving lives.
“Keys2drive is designed to make P-plate drivers safer on the road, and upskill parents into being better supervisors,” says Ben Haythorpe, RAA Senior Manager of Community Engagement.
“RAA is proud to host the head office of Keys2drive and deliver the program, which now hosts 1500 driving instructors across Australia.”
RAA is hoping to spread the word about the initiative and lower the crash statistics of young drivers once they’re able to drive solo.
“Road safety researchers have said the more parents are involved in their children’s driving, the safer they’re going to be on the road,” Mr Haythorpe says.
“It’s the first time globally that a program mandates parental involvement.”
Sebastian Pedroza, 17, and his mother Catherina recently participated in the program, both saying it’s a must for all learner drivers.
“We’ve had the best experience [with the program],” Catherina says.
“It’s been a great way for Sebastian to start his driving career.”
Sebastian says the initial theory lesson gave him the confidence to feel comfortable when it came to the driving segment.
“We went through some statistics and some common mistakes and why these happen,” he says.
“They got us to reflect on what we were doing [when driving] and I noticed I was making certain mistakes, which was really good to know.”
“This is a way of instilling confidence in yourself at a time when you’re really nervous,” he continues.
“We’ve come to that age when a lot of us are getting our Ls, and a lot of my friends and I have been talking about how nervous [we can be when] driving, and that it can be challenging with your parents.”
One of the benefits of Keys2drive is having a third-party instructor involved, both for the benefit of the learner driver and the supervisor.
“When you’ve been driving for a long time, you don’t know if you’ve picked up any bad habits,” Catherina says.
“It gave me the confidence [to] teach him the right skills in the future – it’s been something we can refer to and put us on the right path.”
Sebastian says the program has led him to feeling safer and more confident on the road with his mum as his teacher.
“None of us are really perfect drivers, and we all have our flaws, so it helps us to have a way where we can all improve.”