NSW Nationals Member for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead has announced that learner drivers preparing for their P-plate exams on the state’s Mid North Coast will be able to practice their skills in a safe environment, thanks to a new driving simulator funded by the NSW Nationals in Government.

Mr Bromhead was joined by Minister for Regional Youth Bronnie Taylor to commission a state-of-the-art driver simulator made possible by an $18,000 NSW Nationals in Government grant to the Wingham Rotary Club to install and operate a professional standard virtual driving simulator at the PCYC Taree.

Mr Bromhead said the state-of-the-art simulator would be a fantastic addition for young people in the area.

“Getting your driver’s licence is a memorable milestone for young people, especially in regional areas where a licence is truly a ticket to freedom,” Mr Bromhead said.

“This simulator will give young drivers a safe opportunity to practice in adverse weather and realistic traffic conditions, which means they will be better prepared to drive safely on regional roads.

“It will also let young people experience how quickly and unexpectedly things can go wrong behind the wheel, with scenarios including swerving top avoid cars, dogs and kangaroos.”

Trained volunteers will provide advice and feedback during one-on-one simulator sessions, which will be free for young people already taking part in existing PCYC programs. The simulator will also be used by local high schools with Wingham Rotary support.

While drivers of varying ages and ability will be able to practice their skills on the simulator, the first group to benefit will be young drivers taking part in the Traffic Offenders Intervention Program that commences later this month.

“Practice makes perfect, so time behind the virtual wheel will help young drivers improve their skills and prepare them to ace their test,” Mrs Taylor said.

The simulator features three screens, a force feedback steering wheel, pedals, gear stick, handbrake, a car seat, seatbelt and software customised with Australian road rules, signs and markings.