A ROAD safety revolution is under way in Washington, says Quentin Willson.
The Fifth Gear presenter was on Wearside for the opening of Tadea’s new hi-tech driver training centre, which uses the latest driving simulators to offer accredited training courses at the new Future Technologies Centre, next to the Turbine business park.
Effective Transport Solutions offers base level simulators with three screens and higher specification models, housed in Minis and featuring wrap-around projector screens.
Training covers topics such as fuel-efficient driving; electric vehicle familiarisation and driving in bad weather.
The technology is ideal for training learner drivers as well as professionals and would be perfect for schools, said Quentin.
“We teach people to pass a test, we don’t teach them to drive,” he said.
“Then they are never encouraged to have any more training, never encouraged to reread the Highway Code, to take a refresher or a retest.
“The driving test is not fit for purpose.
“Driving instructors do their bit, but we don’t teach people how to drive in the rain, how to drive at night or on the minor rural roads where accidents happen.
“This is a great way to teach children, those in the 12 to 16 age range particularly, the stuff they would normally have to learn on the road – and it’s too late by then because they are learning as they are driving.
“If you can teach the kids, at an age when they are receptive, the basics of driving then you will change their driving habits for a lifetime.”
Tadea chairman John Barton said the Future Technologies Centre, in the heart of Wearside’s low-carbon vehicle enterprise zone, had been the ideal fit. “It is fantastic – here we are, next to Nissan and surrounded by like-minded companies,” he said. “It just seemed the obvious place to come, at the end of the day.
“We’ve had an enormous amount of help from Sunderland City Council and we want to thank both the council and Gateshead College, which hosts the centre.”