Call for first aid awareness training for all learner drivers

Senior Australian of the Year Val Dempsey is calling on all governments to make first aid training a part of gaining a driver’s licence.

Ms Dempsey, a long-time St John Ambulance ACT volunteer, also wants to see bystander first aid included in the National Road Safety Strategy.

Delivering a keynote address at last month’s National General Assembly, Ms Dempsey said first aid for learner drivers “could lead to an entire generation of mobile life savers”.

Bystander first aid, such as clearing a person’s airway, controlling bleeding and performing CPR, can also prevent death and reduce serious injury in the vital minutes before an ambulance arrives.

Around 1200 people are killed each year on Australian roads, and a further 44,000 are seriously injured, costing the economy $30 billion a year.

Ms Dempsey embarked on her mission more than three decades ago when bystanders came to help at the scene of her daughter’s car accident but didn’t know what to do, resulting in the loss of life.

She told delegates that achieving basic first aid awareness is relatively easy and straightforward.

St John Ambulance Australia’s is a free 30-minute course that aims to instil lifesaving first aid skills into young drivers and their passengers. Contact for more information.

Ms Dempsey was interviewed at the NGA about her work, along with ALGA President Cr Linda Scott.