L can mean Later

A sur­pris­ing num­ber of adults want the driv­ing age raised, writes Mark Hinchliffe

Herald Sun - Motoring - - On Road - WHATAGE SHOULD PEO­PLE START DRIV­ING? Tell us at www.cars­guide.com.au

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.’’

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