From L plates to no plates: road safety reforms to prioritise road safety, community views sought

Shane Rattenbury, MLA

The community is encouraged to share their thoughts on special considerations the Government must have for new reforms that will improve the safety of young drivers in the ACT.

Research shows introducing a range of measures can lead to a 50% reduction in fatal and serious injury crashes. Between 2006 and 2017, 15 drivers aged 17 to 24 years old were killed in the ACT.

Launched today, Your PLates: Reviewing the process from L plates to no plates, includes seven measures across L and P plates that have been proven to save young lives across the country.

The changes include:

Supervised driving hours

Learner drivers must hold their licence for at least a year and complete a minimum of 100 supervised driving hours, including 10 hours at night time.

P1 and P2 stages

Introducing a new P1 plate will target restrictions for the first 12 months, so new drivers safely gain more experience. No change to licence length, it will remain at 3 years.

Night time driving

No driving between midnight and 5am for P1 drivers.

Peer passenger restrictions

P1 drivers will be limited to one passenger aged between 16 and 24 in the car.

Demerit Points

A maximum of 4 points for 3 years. Swift and severe penalties deter high risk driving, including licence suspensions.

Mobile phones

No mobile phones, including hands-free, for L, P1 and P2 drivers.

Hazard Perception Test

Learner drivers must successfully complete a computer-based test to recognise dangerous situations and react safely before being eligible for their Ps.

These measures are essential parts of the National Graduated Licensing Scheme Framework Model and have been evaluated as successfully measures by other Australian jurisdictions. The improved scheme does not introduce changes to vehicle restrictions or reducing speed limits for new drivers. 

 

New drivers are one of the ACT’s most at-risk groups on the road, largely due to age and inexperience, and a range of initiatives are needed to improve the safety of everyone on our roads.

The ACT Government is seeking to strike a balance as to how these changes may be practically implemented in the Territory.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Road Safety Shane Rattenbury:

“Our community has a responsibility to provide greater protection for young drivers while they are at their most vulnerable stage of driving.

“We know that drivers are most likely to have a crash in the first year of the P licence. The main causes of young driver crashes are inexperience, inattention, distracted driving and speeding. All of these things we can do something about.

“There is no one solution, which is why we are looking at a range of approaches that work together to reduce the risk for young and new drivers.

“Feedback from the community will inform the timing of introduction of reforms, the appropriate staging of restrictions to P drivers and the design and application of any exemptions.

“We want to minimise undue hardship on our community where it doesn’t compromise improving road 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.”

 

ACT statistics

Between 2006 and 2017, 15 young drivers (aged 17-24) were killed while driving on ACT roads with five of those driver deaths between midnight and 5am.

In the same period, cars driven by young drivers (aged 17-24) killed 23 other drivers, cyclists, passengers or pedestrians, with 10 of those deaths between midnights and 5am.

In the period 2011 to 2015, P drivers represented 6.5% of all car licence holders but accounted for 14.6% of drivers involved in fatal accidents.

 

Success in other jurisdictions

42.5% fewer drivers aged 18-23 years have been involved in a fatal or serious injury crashes in Victoria in the decade since the graduated licensing scheme was introduced.

In NSW, fatal crashes for young drivers under 26 declined by 52% from 1999-2000 to 2009-10.