Bass Coast Specialist School student Max Richards takes Bass MP Jordan Crugnale for a drive around the Wonthaggi Recreation Reserve. Op013919

STUDENTS at Bass Coast Specialist School (BCSS) had their first experience behind the wheel on Wednesday, as part of the Victorian Government’s Road Smart program.
This is the second year BCSS has taken part in the program, which has been running since 2018.
One student already had his probationary licence and another is on his learner’s permit, but for the rest it was the first time they had driven a car.
The 26 senior students all went for a lap of the Wonthaggi Recreation Reserve oval, under the guidance of driving instructors specially trained to work with drivers with special needs.
Road Smart was created by the Victorian Government last year, and regional director at Regional Roads Victoria, Sara Rhodes-Ward, says it aims to give students at Victorian schools and TAFEs a safe, supportive environment to have their first experience with driving.
Around 50,000 students from Years 10 to 12 have
already participated in Road Smart across the state, which includes a classroom education session, followed by an on-road or off-road introductory driving lesson.
President of the Australian Driver Trainers Association, Stan Gates, said: “The whole idea is to give them the experience of actually sitting behind the wheel of a car and start to get them comfortable there.”
Stan regularly works with clients with special needs as a driving instructor and says that there is a growing need for instructors who are specially trained for it.
Bass MP Jordan Crugnale was also at the reserve to offer her support to the project.
Ms Crugnale said the project was “giving a valuable opportunity to the students who will be the future drivers on our roads.”