Paroo Shire Council, QLD
Blue Light Learner Driver Program
The Blue Light Learner Driver Program was the brainchild of the Cunnamulla Police to achieve road safety regardless of social status, enhance equality across the community and build relationships between the Queensland Police and Youth of Cunnamulla.
Recognising there were no driving schools in Cunnamulla and limited opportunities for teens to obtain their 100 hours of driving before qualifying to obtain their Provisional licence, the Cunnamulla Police leapt into action transforming an idea into reality. Partnering with Paroo Shire Council (PSC) and the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) a suitable vehicle was purchased, a graffiti artist engaged and students from the Cunnamulla State School invited to work alongside the artist and Queensland Police staff to put their stamp on the car.
The partnership built a sense of pride and ownership over the vehicle and helped initiate connection between the Officers who would soon be spending vital hours with students behind the wheel.
The Learner Driver Vehicle hit the road for the first time on October 2, 2021; quickly gained 20 driving hours in the first month with seven students. The initiative provides equal opportunities for all students regardless of race or status. It provides access to a safe vehicle and a mentor while helping break the barriers between youth and Police.
The support of the Paroo Shire Council will keep the vehicle on the road for the first 12 months. We can see this initiative providing critical benefits for drivers through increased road safety awareness and being responsible road users. The mentor program provides opportunities for students to build positive relationships and fully understand the intricacies of road use.
The Cunnamulla Police initiated a further partnership with PJ's Automotive in Cunnamulla to teach the students essential car maintenance and mechanics; including how to check fluids, change a tyre and what to do in an emergency. These critical skills are paramount in the harsh, remote environment in which we live in ensuring our youth and in particular our disadvantaged youth are provided equal learning and safety opportunities.
The students see the opportunity to not only obtain their licence but gain employment.
The Award Category
This award recognises local government projects which:
- improve road or roadside infrastructure with a focus on safety benefits including heavy vehicle transport
- address the specific safety needs of vulnerable groups or target specific road user risk factors
- improve emergency medical response services for those involved in road crashes.
Delivering community outcomes
The Excellence in Road Safety Award recognises projects which positively impact communities by:
- addressing specific risk factors and creating innovative road safety solutions
- making communities safer and more liveable
- contributing to reductions in deaths and serious injuries from road crashes.