INCLUSION: Braking the Cycle mentor  Tony Smith , Member for Ipswich  Jennifer Howard and participant  Tina Venaskie.
INCLUSION: Braking the Cycle mentor Tony Smith , Member for Ipswich Jennifer Howard and participant Tina Venaskie. Contributed

Program helping needy teens rack up 100 hours

AN INTERNATIONALLY recognised program that helps young, aspiring motorists, including those in the Ipswich region, get their driver's licence is proving a great success.

The PCYC Braking the Cycle program has given thousands of young Queenslanders a chance for motoring independence and to become safer, better-informed drivers.

The program involves volunteer mentor drivers helping young learner drivers reach the required 100 hours of supervised on-road driving experience to attain their driver's licence.

Member for Ipswich Jennifer Howard said already 743 young drivers had taken part in the program, with 322 of those already attaining their licence.

"They have been supported by 137 mentor drivers with over 19,000 driving hours and 569,484km delivered from Ipswich, Redbank Plains, Boonah, Lowood and Laidley,” Ms Howard said.

"These locals are among 4471 young Queenslanders who have already had more than 92,808 supervised driving hours, with more than 2.9 million kilometres driven - the equivalent of travelling to the moon and back three and a half times.”

PCYC Braking the Cycle is now being offered in 42 locations around Queensland and this number continues to grow.

PCYC Queensland chief executive officer Phil Schultz said PCYC Braking the Cycle was developed in 2011 in response to community concerns about unlicensed driving and unemployment in lower socio-economic areas.

"The program matches volunteer driver mentors up with young, local learner drivers who otherwise cannot access a supervisor or registered vehicle to complete their mandatory 100 pre-testing logbook hours,” Mr Schultz said.

"The 100-hour requirement can place stress on young people and act as a barrier to getting a licence and then having the opportunity to engage in employment.

"PCYC Braking the Cycle not only empowers disadvantaged young people to get their licence, it also increases a young person's employment and education opportunities, encourages positive community connection and improves road safety outcomes for young drivers.”

The Queensland Government, through the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC), is a key financial supporter of PCYC Braking the Cycle, providing around $1.7 million a year.  MAIC is the organisation responsible for regulating Queensland's Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance scheme.

Insurance Commissioner Neil Singleton said research shows that young drivers are responsible for over 25 per cent of crashes that result in a claim being submitted to Queensland's CTP insurance scheme.

"Funding of this type can improve driving outcomes and reduce road trauma, which benefits Queensland motorists, their families and friends, and the broader community,” said Mr Singleton.

"An independent evaluation of PCYC Braking the Cycle in 2016 by the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety (CARRS-Q) confirmed the program is closely aligned with best practice for learner driver mentor programs.

"There are few things more important when young people transition to adulthood than getting your driver's licence.

"But for many young people, this is by no means an easy journey. PCYC Braking the Cycle is a first-class program designed to help young people along that journey.”

In December 2018, the PCYC Braking the Cycle learner driver mentor program was recognised at the prestigious International Road Safety Award with the award presented by His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent.

The award judges said Braking the Cycle "not only the improves safety record of this vulnerable group of people but also addresses the important area of social inclusion”.