L can mean Later
A surprising number of adults want the driving age raised, writes Mark Hinchliffe
AUSTRALIANS are split over the right age to start driving. A new survey recommends raising the minimum licence age to at least 18, while experts maintain it’s better to start driving earlier.
Just over half the 1008 people in a new national survey called for a higher driving age — and it jumps to as high as 72 per cent in South Australia and 62 per cent in the ACT.
Some even want the minimum driving age to be lifted to 21, according to the research by Australian peer-to-peer car-rental com-
If you have to wait until they are older, you are no longer the guru, just another old guy
pany DriveMyCar Rentals. Company spokesman Daniel Noble says the findings reflect the company’s experience, in which 95 per cent of owners prefer to rent their vehicles to drivers older than 21.
However, the National Motorists Association of Australia rejects any potential increase in the minimum driving age.
NMAA spokesman Michael Lane, of Sydney, says it is preferable to teach people to drive while they are younger.
‘‘Try to teach them as young as possible because they are much more receptive to things and you have more control over them,’’ he says.
‘‘It’s the one time you know more about something than they do. If you have to wait until they are older, you are no longer the guru, just another old guy.’’ Lane says there is ‘‘no solid research’’ to support increasing the driving age.
The minimum age varies around the country from 16½ in South Australia to 18 in Victoria.
‘‘There is research that shows a Mental gear-change: Samantha Hanson (above) is a filmmaker who wants to expose the poor attitudes of teenage drivers. ‘‘We are more worried about getting pulled over than crashing our cars and dying,’’ she says. More at news.com.au lot of crashes happen in the first year, but it doesn’t say whether it’s the first year at the age of 16, 17, 18, or 19,’’ he says.
‘‘If you change the minimum driving age, then you are just timeshifting their first year of driving and there are no benefits in safety.
‘‘There is also the social factor. If you push the driving age up, apprentices can’t get to work and students can’t get to university. Mum and dad will still be the taxi drivers.
‘‘I’d like to see some good solid research on this, but at the moment it’s just all waffle.’’