Drive Safe Course: Back to school for Schooling



Toyota Safe-driving Ambassador Joseph Schooling signs up for a half-day driving course that will soon be free for Toyota buyers

SINGAPORE — If you’ve ever compared driving through traffic to swimming along like a fish in a school, you’re not alone. Olympic gold medal winner Joseph Schooling has done the same.

“You can see some shared values between me practising in the pool and us driving on the roads every day. You’ve got to be gracious on the roads. You’ve got to be competent in your technique driving-wise. I’ve got to be competent in the pool,” the swimmer says. “I have to have respect for other drivers. That means not cutting other people off, not tailgating other people, not honking because you’re in a bad mood, all these things.”

On Wednesday Schooling, who is a Toyota Drive-safe Ambassador, dropped by the ComfortDelGro Driving Centre to try out the Drive Safe Course, a half-day driver-training programme designed make people safer behind the wheel.

Toyota’s local distributor Borneo Motors has teamed up with the driving school to make the course available to its customers.

Anyone who bought a new Toyota from October 18th last year could attend the S$250 Drive Safe Course for free. Other Toyota customers can either sign up at a discounted price or redeem the course with points from the Toyota ME rewards programme that Borneo operates.

Around 300 Toyota drivers have completed the course since the start of the year. 

Lim Tien Hock, the driving school’s chief executive (pictured below), said he was “thrilled” to have Schooling try out the Drive Safe Course, which uses a proprietary system that logs data from an array of cameras and sensors to measure driver performance. 

“As the Safe-driving Ambassador and an athlete, Joseph will be able to appreciate the competency, graciousness and respect that is required, be it in sports or driving,” he said.

The Drive Safe Course gels with Toyota’s own efforts to reduce fatality numbers on the roads. “Toyota is not just interested in producing ever-better cars. For us, the ultimate goal is for everyone to be able to leave home and to go back home safely to their loved ones,” Samuel Yong (pictured below, right), the marketing director for Borneo Motors said.

In that respect he speaks from the heart. He lost a nephew to a road traffic accident, and was present at the moment the family switched off the life support system.

For its part, Borneo is being notably inclusive about the Drive Safe Course; owners of parallel-imported Toyotas are also eligible for a discounted rate on the course if they sign up for Toyota ME membership with the company.

Schooling’s own experience of the course saw him praise the data-logging system for its consistency. He was docked points for such things as improper hand position on the steering wheel and failure to check the rear-view mirror often enough, and clocked a final score of 67 — better than this writer’s measly score of 64, down to such crimes as “excessive cornering speed”.

While you’re unlikely to be able to beat Schooling in the pool, you might obtain a higher score at the ComfortDelGro Driving Centre than he did. It’s not a competition, of course, but if every course participant does their best at the Drive Safe Course, then everyone wins.

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Leow Julen
Leow Ju-Len is a lot older than he behaves. He's been writing about cars for 25 years. Someday he might do it coherently. Ju-Len believes in world peace and V8s, but not necessarily in that order.