Principles of CAMS Ignition
Driver Education delivered through CAMS Ignition is primarily designed to assist young people to develop insight skills about their involvement in motor vehicles and road use. Such skills are crucial to a driver mindset that seeks to prevent emergencies and crashes.
CAMS Ignition is not intended to replace learner lessons or the minimum numbers of hours required of pre-licence supervised practice. CAMS Ignition will complement these existing learner driver and licensing activities in line with research which suggests a multifaceted approach to road safety.
CAMS Ignition does not focus on motor sport skills or developing manual car control skills, especially those skills associated with handling an out of control vehicle.
The focus of CAMS Ignition is on attitudes and behaviours, awareness and hazard perception.
CAMS Ignition aims to
• Target pre-learner drivers, learner drivers and early P-Plate drivers – the most vulnerable group on Australian roads.
• Provide an opportunity for communities to work with CAMS.
• Promote socially responsible driving and vehicle use on the road.
• Take advantage of the interest and enthusiasm that young people have in motor vehicles and driving.
• Encourage youth and parents to participate in discussion on such issues as youth driving statistics, social behaviour related to driving and culture associated with driving.
• Engage the community, its leaders, parents, businesses, police and other agencies, in CAMS activities targeting young drivers.
• Utilise high profile personalities as CAMS Ignition ambassadors.
Are we doing enough to save our kids?
by Eugene Arocca
Father and CAMS Chief Executive
You may well ask - what the heck is someone who runs Australian Motor Sport doing trying to lecture us on road safety?
Well, that is the same question I am being asked by Governments and Road Safety authorities and experts from around the country - the answer, put simply, is that I am the parent of two young teenage males about to get their licences who is 'bloody scared' about them joining the demographic most likely to lose their lives or be seriously injured on the roads.
I don't have any readymade solutions as to how we can significantly reduce the fatalities and serious injuries sustained by the 18 to 25 year olds on our roads. The figures suggest that this group represents 40% of the fatalities and or serious injuries on Australian roads in any given year.
The facts are startling:
- Over a quarter of all road deaths are in the under 25 years old group, despite this age group representing less than 13% of all licensed drivers.
- Motor vehicle fatalities are the largest killer of youth in Australia.
- 45% of all young Australians killed are as a result of injuries from road traffic crashes
- The number of indigenous young Australians killed as a result of injury is 5 times greater than non-indigenous young Australians
- Of all young Australians hospitalised due to injury, nearly 50% are car drivers and a further 25% are car passengers
- The moment a Learner driver becomes a P Plate driver, their likelihood of being involved in a crash increases 33 times
- A first year P-plater is 4 times more likely to be involved in a fatal car crash than a 26 year old
- More than 80 % of young drivers killed in Australia are males
- Whilst the number of fatalities each year remains relatively stable, the number of serious injuries is continuing to climb
ANY parent of teenage children, particularly males, should be startled by these statistics; I am - more than drugs, more than alcohol - that said, when you factor drugs or alcohol into road fatalities or injuries, there is even greater cause for concern.
Another twist is that of the 30 hours (of the required 120 hours in Victoria) my 17 year old son has been driving under supervision, I have provided 100% of that supervision; the last time I "brushed up" on my driving skills was in 1978 when I got my licence as an 18 year old. Sure, I have nearly 35 years of practical experience and while I'd like to think I'm a good driver I'm not even sure I know what a good driver is. A lot has changed, road rules, laws, constructions of cars and roads and even our lifestyle - people drive differently these days.
I represent the everyday parent teaching his or her son or daughter how to drive and quite frankly it is not good enough.
As a Victorian I am proud of the wonderful efforts of the Transport Accident Commission and the Victoria Police aimed at keeping our roads safe but I despair when I hear or read about 6 young Australians crammed into a car, travelling at breakneck speed with dire consequences. Quite simply, not enough is getting through to these young people.
We need to do more - as the CEO of the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport I firmly believe that we need to be as loud and vocal as anyone on the issue of road safety. We supervise and endorse the management of more than 1800 motor sport events around the country each year - from the most basic of driving activities (controlled driving around cones in a car park) to the elite in world motor sport (the Australian Grand Prix). We make and enforce the rules, check the tracks and venues, licence the drivers and penalise the rule breakers. We understand motor cars, speed and the consequences of breaking rules when driving. We have drivers as young as 12 holding a CAMS licence.
I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered, upon taking the role at CAMS, that we do have a Road Safety Program aimed at children as young as 12 and 13 - the "twist" with our Ignition program is that apart from reinforcing the usual messages around risk taking, decision making, road rules, etc - it actually introduces these very young people to cars in a practical setting. CAMS has been criticised by a variety of experts, from academics to government bureaucrats, for developing a program that places children as young as 12 behind the steering wheel of a car. This is absolutely controlled (they travel at no more than 10 or 15 kilometres per hour in a secure setting) and is designed to give these children a very real FEEL for the power and potential force of a vehicle - teaching them about consequences, decision making and the rules associated with road use. Surely it can only help to positively engage with young Australians, empower them with knowledge, real life experience and exposure to motor vehicles (other than as a passenger).
Today, the philosophy behind the CAMS Ignition program is not widely accepted or endorsed by the traditional road safety experts - from the TAC (and similar Road Safety authorities around Australia) to the numerous advisers surrounding the many government ministers (federal and state) responsible for road safety.
All it takes is a government brave enough to say - "We will look into this, test it through a schools program and use the results to identify where real changes can be made to save the lives of young adults."
We believe we are on the right track (pardon the pun) and have the backing of the FIA - the world wide Federation responsible for both motor vehicle mobility and motor sport. Indeed, to our knowledge, no other government or road safety authority IN THE WORLD endorses the concept of introducing 12 or 13 year olds to motor vehicles - we think it is time to change the thinking around this issue and where better than Australia to explore making a major impact on road deaths in that 18 to 25 year old age group. To put things in perspective - the cost of running the CAMS Ignition program in a localised selection of say, 20 schools, over a 12 month period would cost less than a tenth of the lifelong medical and rehabilitation costs of one young adult with quadriplegia resulting from a car accident - the math stacks up!
CAMS Chief Executive