June 15, 2004

BCAA offers tips to help new BC drivers become safe drivers

Burnaby, BC – Tops down, sunroofs open, sunglasses on – and lots of “L” signs displayed in vehicle rear windows – sure signs that
summer is upon us, and a timely reminder of the need to ensure new drivers become safe drivers. According to Young Drivers of Canada, B.C. region, mid-June to mid-September is the most popular time for drivers in the Learner’s – or “L” stage – to begin logging their first kilometers behind the wheel. And the British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) would like to see more new drivers hitting the road under the guidance of a professional driving instructor.

In a 2004 survey of BCAA members, 77 per cent said they believe that new drivers who take driver training courses are less likely to be involved in a collision than those who do not take professional training. According to Young Drivers of Canada, B.C. region, the number of drivers enrolling in professional driver courses had been increasing slightly, until last year when a decline in enrollment was noticed – presumably due to the longer Learner’s stage implemented in 2003.

“Driving is an enormous responsibility, so it’s critical that new drivers learn and practice good habits right from the start,” says Bill Bullis, BCAA President and CEO. “BCAA believes the two best things any parent can do is help their new driver get professional instruction, and help show them the way by practicing good driving habits themselves.”

BCAA encourages new drivers – and their parents – to consider the following:

  • Enroll in a driver training program – and enroll early! By taking
    driver training as soon as possible after earning their “L”
    designation, new drivers will be able to apply and practice good
    driving habits throughout the 12-month “L” stage. Also, new drivers
    who successfully complete an ICBC-approved driver education course can
    reduce the Learner’s stage by three months.

  • Parents need to set a good example. Children observe how their parents
    drive from the time they’re in a booster seat to when they take their
    first driver’s exam.

  • Parents need to get involved in their teen’s driving, and learn how to
    be an effective “coach.” Young Drivers of Canada offers free co-driver
    sessions where parents will learn techniques and tips for coaching new
    drivers. Parents are also encouraged to work through their new
    driver’s materials with them and participate in ICBC’s online practice
    knowledge test to test their own driving know-how.

  • New drivers should save driving for fair-weather days when they first
    start out. When they start to gain confidence, they should venture out
    in all kinds of weather to ensure they learn to drive in every
    condition and season.

For more information about teen drivers and safety, visit ICBC’s Geared 2 Youth Web site at www.icbc.com.

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