400 reasons to celebrate

Ask learner drivers Lily McMahon and Tilly Donkin what they’ve got out of doing a unique intensive local learner driver course and they’re quick to respond.
Both learner drivers immediately list gaining better parking skills among the obvious benefits of participating in the Maldon and District Community Bank learner driver program, while driving in testing conditions and emergency stopping quickly rate a mention as well.
“Definitely parking skills, reverse and parallel parking,” Tilly said.
“I was terrible beforehand, and also what to do in an emergency, stopping-wise.”
Tilly and Lily are far from the only ones who speak highly of this five-day intensive course, which on Friday celebrated the fact that 400 new drivers had successfully completed it.
The celebration took place at the Maldon Racecourse Reserve where experienced driving instructor Gary Clarke said he had little doubt that the course was saving lives.
“It was started originally for P-Plate drivers in response to some nasty accidents and near misses in the area,” Gary said.
“One girl was seriously hurt.”
Gary says the improvements evident in the driving skills of the learner drivers who complete the five-day intensive course are obvious.
“From the Monday to the Friday you can see a transformation in every student,” he said.
“Yes, I do believe it’s saving lives.”
Since the program started back in 2003 the Maldon and District Community Bank has contributed more than $350,000 in funding to make it happen.
And at Friday’s celebration, bank executive officer Karly Smith had some good news for local L-Platers keen to sign up.
“We’re thrilled to confirm funding for this year’s driver training program,” she said.
“And there’s already a waiting list of learner drivers lining up for the 2018-19 program.
“We established the program to equip learner drivers with skills and exposure to a variety of driving experiences, to ensure their safety and the safety of everyone on the roads.”

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