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Business: Transportation

The Auto$mart Driver Educator's Newsletter

Winter 2005 Edition

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New Auto$mart Kit Makes the Link Between Safety and Fuel Efficiency

Safe driving. These two words sum up why more than a quarter of a million Canadians take driver education courses each year. They also underline the critical role driver educators play in shaping the next generation of responsible motorists.

Improved road safety is a goal shared by all Canadians and their governments. But proper driving techniques do more than reduce road risks: safe driving is also fuel-efficient driving – the two go hand in hand. In addition to saving drivers money, fuel-efficient driving reduces the production of greenhouse gas emissions that are contributing to climate change, one of the most significant environmental challenges the world is facing.

To help you teach safe, fuel-efficient driving techniques, Natural Resources Canada’s Office of Energy Efficiency (OEE) is updating and expanding its popular Auto$mart Driver Education Kit. The revised kit will be released early in 2005 with a new name and look, new teaching and learning resources, and a strengthened focus on the links between fuel efficiency and safety.

Introduced in 1997 as a free teaching resource, the Auto$mart Driver Education Kit is now used by more than 1000 driver educators across Canada to help instruct students on how to buy, drive and maintain their vehicles with fuel efficiency in mind. Over the past 18 months, the OEE has been recreating the kit with new materials that focus on the environmental, safety and health benefits of fuel-efficient driving.

What can you expect in the revamped kit, Auto$mart "A New Point of View" – Linking Safe and Fuel-Efficient Driving? For starters, the instructor’s guide and video have been revised to include up-to-date information and to have a more contemporary look. New additions to the kit include a student’s workbook, an in-car instructor’s guide and student tip cards.

As well, the kit’s print and video materials, plus additional links and resources, are included on a CD. As in the past, the teaching materials in the kit are geared toward teenagers but can be easily incorporated into driver education programs aimed at any age group.

Development of the new Auto$mart Driver Education Kit has been very much a collaborative effort. Earlier this year, the OEE held 20 focus group sessions across Canada, 10 with students and 10 with driver educators. In addition to the invaluable feedback received during these sessions, strategic input has also been provided by other stakeholders, including provincial/territorial driver licensing agencies.

As a result, numerous improvements have been made, and the new Auto$mart Driver Education Kit will be better than ever – a top quality resource that meets the needs of driver educators, students and governments. Road safety will win, and so will the environment.

Stakeholder Engagement: The Key to Success

Broad and enthusiastic stakeholder engagement has been a key to the success of this national project, and it all got started in January 2004 at a full-day meeting in Ottawa.

Hosted by staff of the OEE’s Personal Vehicles Initiative, the meeting brought together representatives of provincial/territorial governments, driver licensing agencies, the driver education sector, the Canada Safety Council and the Road Safety Educators’ Association to help shape and provide input to the Auto$mart Driver Education Kit.

From the OEE’s perspective, the gathering was an important opportunity to solidify the buy-in and participation of a wide range of partners. A major outcome was the formation of a regionally representative Driver Education Kit Steering Committee, with a mandate to better define the needs of driver educators and ensure the development of a truly national and effective teaching resource. Members of the steering committee have devoted a great deal of energy and talent to the project, and their contributions are greatly appreciated.

The stakeholder meeting was also an opportunity for provincial/territorial officials to reaffirm their commitment to raise the profile of fuel-efficient driving practices in their driver education curricula and driver licensing programs.

New Auto$mart Kit in the Spotlight at DSAO Meeting

Delegates to the annual meeting of the Driving School Association of Ontario (DSAO) in Toronto were treated to a sneak preview of the Auto$mart Driver Education Kit this past fall – and they came away impressed.

Demand for the new kit is expected to be strong. A prototype unveiled at the DSAO conference, held at the Toronto Board of Trade Airport Centre on October 1, 2004, generated a great deal of interest and positive feedback from driver educators across the province.

Official Launch in Toronto

The 2005 Canadian International Auto Show will be the venue for the release of Auto$mart: A New Point of View. Natural Resources Canada officially launched this driver education resource kit in the company of representatives from the Government of Canada, the Canadian automotive industry, and the driver education sector.

Driver educators who will be attending the Auto Show, running from February 18 to 27, will have an opportunity to register for the kit and to view the full presentation in the "On the Road" theme area of the Government of Canada presentation, located in the North Building of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Watch for Train-the-Trainer Workshops

A series of train-the-trainer workshops is being developed by the OEE to ensure that driver educators and examiners can take full advantage of the resources and materials contained in the Auto$mart Driver Education Kit.

About Us – The Personal Vehicles Initiative

Auto$mart is a component of the Personal Vehicles Initiative, one of more than a dozen programs and initiatives delivered by the OEE as part of its efforts to strengthen and expand Canada’s commitment to energy efficiency in order to help address the challenges of climate change.

The transportation sector is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. Each year, light-duty vehicles account for about 17 percent of total Canadian emissions of carbon dioxide, the predominant greenhouse gas.

To address this growing problem, the Personal Vehicles Initiative provides Canadian motorists with helpful tips on buying, driving and maintaining their vehicles to reduce fuel consumption. In addition to Auto$mart, the Personal Vehicles Initiative includes the EnerGuide label for vehicles, the annual Fuel Consumption Guide, and anti-idling tools and resources.

The OEE partners with a wide range of stakeholders to deliver the Personal Vehicles Initiative, including driver educators, who are uniquely positioned to help students understand the relationship between fuel consumption and climate change. Because fuel efficiency and safety go hand in hand, teaching Auto$mart techniques also contributes to improved road safety.

To learn more or to pre-register to receive your free copy of the Auto$mart Driver Education Kit, visit our Web site or call (613) 943-1621 collect.

Driving schools that register for the Auto$mart Driver Education Kit can have their names posted on the Auto$mart Web site.