Too many drink drivers to fit in driver education course

THERE are so many people caught  drink driving in Orange they are waiting weeks to get into a driver education course.

Many are going to Parkes and Bathurst to complete the course prior to going to court, because of long waiting lists.

In Orange the program is held at the PCYC.

Co-ordinator Sharni Coles said the  six-week course was run continuously throughout the year and was always full.

The program is supported by magistrates across the state and is run under the auspices of the state office of the PCYC.

“It is interesting when many people come to enrol they say ‘Oh I was just over’ or ‘I was unlucky on the night, but as they progress through the course you see see a change in attitude and people take responsibility,” she said.

During the course solicitors and emergency services workers address the participants, who are required to complete a workbook of assignments.

“Many people are really surprised when they hear what the penalties could be,” Ms Cole said.

“Some people are really quite shocked when they hear they could go to jail and many don’t realise it is a criminal offence to be caught drink driving.”

Ms Coles said participants did not realise how little alcohol it took to put them over the limit.

“They often say they got in the car and drove because they didn’t think they would be over,” she said.

The driver education course is accredited in the courts with magistrates taking into account whether or not a person shows contrition after completing the course.

Solicitors regularly use completion of the course as a tool to plead for lighter penalties for their clients.

People have to pay the PCYC a fee of $145 to complete the course, with a report prepared for presentation to a magistrate.

The course is held every Monday night in Orange between 6.30pm and 8.30pm at the PCYC.

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