too-much-at-stake-for-120-hour-cheatsBass Coast Highway Patrol officer in charge, Sergeant Jason Hullick chats with Doug Prescott JP, who helps administer the L2P program from the foyer of the Wonthaggi Police Station where mentor drivers and their learner drivers can pick up the keys of a supplied car. m052714

THE practice of fudging your log book to make up the 120-hour driving experience requirement, prior to going for your licence in Victoria, is too big a risk to take.
That’s the view of Bass Coast Highway Patrol Sergeant, Jason Hullick.
“It’s absolutely crucial that learner drivers complete their 120 hours of driving, in fact we’d recommend that they do more than 120 hours,” Sgt Hullick said this week.
“And they should also be driving in all conditions too, on wet roads, at night, at dusk or in the early morning when the sun is low in the sky; in all the conditions that they are likely to encounter when they go out on the road for the first time.
“Unfortunately that first 12 months is the most dangerous time for a young driver to be on the road and the more experience we can give them ahead of that, the better.
“I just couldn’t imagine any parent would want to send their kids out on the road without having that much experience or more under their belt.”
Sgt Hullick has seen the impact of inexperience all too often.
“Young drivers are at risk of getting distracted and of making relatively simple mistakes that have serious consequences. We see that in run-offs and single vehicle crashes.
“When you think about it, there’s just too much at stake.”
And according to Sgt Hullick, the L2P program, by which young learner drivers aged 16 to 21 years can get supervised driving experience with approved, volunteer mentors is a great way to go when mum or dad hasn’t got time or there’s no car available.
Both Bass Coast and South Gippsland shires sponsor L2P programs in their areas.
The program provides a car, as well as volunteer mentors who are matched to each learner driver. This helps young learners with limited or no access to a car or licenced drivers gain experience. Professional driving lessons are also included for each learner.
L2P is a VicRoads initiative run by the Bass Coast Shire Council in partnership with Mitchell House. A local steering committee involving Council, Mitchell House, VicRoads, Victoria Police, interested community members and the project officer, ensures smooth operation and risk management.
To make a booking or enquire about becoming a mentor contact L2P Program Manager, Veronica Dowman, on 5672 3731 or 0467 590 679 by email basscoastl2p@hotmail.com,
Veronica is also available at Wonthaggi Neighbourhood Centre Tuesday 10am to 6pm and Wednesday 9am to 5pm.
Cars are kept at the Bass Coast Shire offices and on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Friday’s Justice of the Peace, Doug Prescott, helps by handing out the keys and logging car movements in the foyer at the Wonthaggi Police station.
South Gippsland learners: You can find out more information about the L2P program in your area by contacting your local coordinator, John Ernst, at the South Gippsland Shire Council on 5662 9367, mobile 0409 836 515 or email: johne@southgippsland.vic.gov.au