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3rd May 2016

Funds help support driver education

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Driving simulator here to support local drivers

If you’ve never experienced driving on an icy road, in fog or heavy traffic, well, the community has the opportunity to learn such skills thanks to the Young Rotary Club. A driving simulator, valued at $40,000 and called the Simworx Driver Training System, arrived in town on Wednesday after almost two years of hard planning. It is by all accounts the future in driver education. The new simulator, to be housed at the Young PCYC, features a steering wheel and three screens to test drivers in a number of different driving scenarios in manual or automatic. It includes night driving; driving in wet weather, ice, fog and high traffic; and hazards such as dogs, kangaroos crossing and cars suddenly pulling out into traffic.

Young Rotary has also gone one step further, thanks to their sponsors, and purchased a disability simulator fitted with a steering wheel spinner knob, push-pull hand controls and an indicator extension arm. A trained volunteer supervisor will accompany the student during one on one sessions, where they will talk with and assist them, provide feedback and help them review their results. 

“It’s quite surreal [it’s here], it’s very exciting,” Young Rotary president Judith Hall said. “It’s been a long process and it’s only just the beginning. “Our youth director Frank Lincoln was looking at things to support kids and generate interest, and, along with Martin Langfield at the PCYC, they sought this.” Judith said it took two years of investigation, proposing the idea to club members, and finding funding and community sponsors. “Rotary believes the simulator has high potential to support, not only young drivers but all drivers in our community,” she said. “We also think it will benefit older drivers when it comes to re-testing them.”

The initiative was so forward-thinking, it earn't Young Rotary the Outstanding New Project Award ahead of over 40 other clubs, announced on the weekend at the Rotary District 9700 Conference in Wagga. “It was the last thing we expected, we cheered loudly in the hall,” Judith laughed. “We were really pleased the district governor and other leaders in the district recognised the importance of the work of the learner driving simulator project.”

No date has been set as to when the simulator will be up and running, but for now the club turns its attention to the simulator’s official launch on June 16. The simulator will also make an appearance at this year’s Career’s Expo on Monday at Young Town Hall for viewing only. Rotary would like to thank the sponsors who made the project possible: Southern Phones, Young Services Club, McAlister Motors and Ford, Alliance Insurance, South West Slopes Credit Union, Young Shire Council, Young Tyrepower, Lambing Flat Enterprises and private donors.

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