P-plate reform proposal for the ACT
The ACT Government is looking for feedback on proposed young driver safety changes.
Legislators for the ACT state government are looking for feedback on a raft of P-Plate law proposals, aimed at improving the safety of young drivers.
Why are reforms needed?
The reforms came about after research showed the array of adjustments could bring a 50% decrease in the number of fatal and severe injury car accidents, especially among drivers aged 17-24.
Between 2006 and 2017, 15 young drivers under the age of 25 were killed on ACT roads. Five of those fatalities occurred between midnight and 5 am. Over the same timeframe, under-25 drivers killed 23 drivers, cyclists, passengers or pedestrians. Of those deaths, 10 happened after 12 am but before dawn. It’s hoped the changes will specifically target those twilight hours, with restrictions for P platers.
The effectiveness of schemes in other states
The ACT lawmakers plan to base their learner driver process on the National Graduated Licensing Scheme Framework Model. Other states are already employing this methodology.
For example, in the first decade after introducing a graduated licensing system, Victoria saw a 42.5% reduction in fatal accidents involving young drivers.
A similar set-up in NSW reduced fatal crashes by over half from 1999-2010.
In both Victoria and NSW, L-plate drivers must complete 120 hours of driving under supervision.
What are the proposed changes?
Proposed alterations include:
- Increased supervised driving hours. Learner drivers must hold a licence for at least a year and complete no less than 100 supervised driving hours. 10 of those must be at night.
- P1 and P2 plates. A new P1 plate, with restrictions, will come into force in the first 12 months. The licence remains a three-year term.
- Restricted night time driving. P1 drivers cannot drive between 12 am and 5 am.
- Peer passenger restrictions. P1 drivers allowed only one 16-24 year old in the car.
- Demerit points. Drivers may chalk up only 4 points in the first three probationary years. Introducing swift penalties including suspensions.
- Mobile phone use. L, P1 and P2 drivers are not permitted to use a mobile phone, including hands-free devices.
- Hazard perception test. Introduction of a mandatory computer-based hazard perception test that learners must pass. The test evaluates whether a driver can see a dangerous situation developing and how quickly they react to it.
Vehicle restrictions and speed limits remain the same as before.
Feedback from community needed
You can have your say on the reforms on the ACT Government website. The study is encouraging parents, organisations supporting young people, driving instructors and young drivers themselves to participate.
Reforms to improve safety, not reduce independence
ACT Minister for Road Safety Shane Rattenbury recognised that these changes might affect young drivers' independence, but they are all about improving safety.
“I recognise some of these changes may affect the independence of young drivers, their families and friends. However, it is important that we keep in mind that these initiatives are about saving lives and reducing the far longer lasting impacts of car crashes,” Rattenbury said.
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