Driving's not easy.

That's a hard lesson to learn

After two or three years, almost all of us can drive well.

But it is never easy.

Driving takes years of practice to coordinate all of the skills you need until it appears to be effortless.

Novice drivers are at significant risk for those first few years.

About BRAKE Driver Awareness

BRAKE is a registered Australian charity established to bring evidence-based driver awareness instruction to Queensland high schools.  The BRAKE curriculum was developed by educationalists and subject matter experts. It was first taught in 2006.

BRAKE has already provided its eight-part, approved curriculum to 80,000 students in over 160 schools, with the help of 500 teachers across Queensland.

Our goal is to provide long-term resilience training for novice drivers in the most statistically dangerous months they will be likely to encounter on our roads.

Sergeant Robert Duncan and Belinda Duncan – the founders of BRAKE

The Founders

Rob and Belinda Duncan

The BRAKE Charitable Trust is a registered Queensland charity, formed in 2005 by police Sergeant Robert Duncan and his wife Belinda to provide an innovative driver awareness education program to public and private schools in Queensland.

Sergeant Rob Duncan is a serving Queensland police officer. He is also BRAKE’s CEO.

Rob received the Australian Commendation for Brave Conduct, the Royal Humane Society of Australasia Silver Medal for Bravery and the Queensland Police Service Bravery Medal in 2006.

Belinda Duncan manages the day-to-day operations of BRAKE and is the primary liaison for teachers and school administrators.

Educational Content

Steve Allan and Darryl Parsons

The BRAKE coursework was developed by Steve Allan and Darryl Parsons. Steve is a Team Leader with the Queensland Ambulance Service and has been involved in the development and rollout of BRAKE from the early days. 

Steve ensures the course content is accurate and appropriate.  He also manages the “train-the-trainer” aspects of BRAKE. 

Darryl Parsons (ScEdD MScEd PGDipScEd PGDipEdAdmin G.Dip.Ed BAppSc) is a highly qualified secondary teacher, and a published author who has written several school textbooks.

Darryl has been a long-time supporter of BRAKE, first as one of the first teachers to conduct the courses in schools and then as an educational advisor and Board Member.

Steve Allan and Darryl Parsons – Educational Content Specialists

Why is the program called BRAKE?

Apart from the obvious connection to driving controls, the letters in the name BRAKE are significant.

  • B = behaviour
  • R = risk
  • A = attitude
  • K = knowledge
  • E = education

So BRAKE influences the behaviour of novice road users by discussing risk and its life-threatening consequences.

The aim is to create a long-term change in attitude that is resilient in the face of actual driving experience and to peer-group pressure.

This change is brought about knowledge that is introduced, internalised and reinforced through traditional education practices within the school environment.

Thus we believe BRAKE Driver Awareness is a completely appropriate and descriptive name.

Why BRAKE works so well

 BRAKE uses an evidence-based approach to effectively arm young drivers with an understanding of the risks they may face when first driving. We believe that knowledge – and not fear – is the key to altering behaviour in young adults.

The BRAKE course uses advanced multimedia techniques to help teenagers to absorb the fundamental facts about how to develop the skills needed to be safely in charge of a vehicle on busy urban and country roads.

 The BRAKE course is aimed at the young adults who are about to learn to drive. Here is some of the knowledge that the BRAKE course delivers:

  • It will take time for driving to become “automatic” – practice makes perfect and practice takes time.
  • Young people assess risks in a different way to adults. This means they do not assess dangers accurately.
  • They consistently underestimate the consequences of danger.
  • BRAKE has shown that young people’s driving behaviour can be modified by the correct presentation of these facts through the copyrighted BRAKE training Program.

The BRAKE program is delivered by teachers within schools who are accredited BRAKE trainers.

It is a highly empowering curriculum that changes the driving behaviour of students remarkably well. BRAKE works best when the students, schools, parents and the community are fully engaged.

Year 11 is ideal for BRAKE

The BRAKE program is taught just before students begin their driver training.  At this time, students are actively seeking information about their upcoming driving experiences; they are receptive to well-presented information.

We have found that once students begin driving, they may form bad habits, and form set points-of-view that may be hard to shake.

The eight-part BRAKE course can overcome this with timely, relevant information that makes their first few years of road use less life-threatening than it might be.

A Dangerous Time for novice drivers

Road safety statistics from around the world consistently show that drivers in their first year suffer more road trauma and death than any other group.

The graph below shows a three times spike in the number of deaths in the first months of provisional driving.

This is the Danger Zone.

(Source CARRS-Q presentation to the Australasian College of Road Safety).

Remarkably, the graph shows one of the safest times for anyone to drive is while they are being closely supervised during their learner license phase.

This low incidence of crash involvement is shattered by the highest period of danger for novice drivers when they enter the provisional license phase.  The first few months being the most perilous. 

 

Some Facts To Consider

After two or three years of driving, young driver’s crash rates settle down to near the adult norms.

Australian and international research into youth driving crash statistics shows some surprising findings:

  • Television commercials using scare tactics have a high initial impact but quickly become ineffective
  • Advanced driver training courses can make the crash rates worse (not better) for young drivers
  • Peer group pressure has a huge impact on driving behaviour – both good and bad.

Some excellent road safety information campaigns have been produced in Australia.  This link shows some of them.