P plate age to stay, for safety sake

Min­is­ter re­jects new bid to drop the age from 18 to 17

Mansfield Courier - - OPINIONS/PEOPLE - By RHYLL McCORMACK

THE State Gov­ern­ment has con­firmed it will not be adopt­ing a rec­om­men­da­tion from a par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee to drop the P plate li­cens­ing age to 17 in Vic­to­ria.

The Law Re­form, Road and Com­mu­nity Safety Com­mit­tee (LRCSC) spent more than 12 months in­ves­ti­gat­ing the ben­e­fits of po­ten­tially low­er­ing the driv­ing age from 18 years to 17, while also dis­cussing the dis­ad­van­tages as­so­ci­ated with the same.

The LRCSC found that young peo­ple in non-ur­ban ar­eas were at greater risk of dis­ad­van­tage than those in met­ro­pol­i­tan ar­eas, partly due to ac­ces­si­bil­ity is­sues.

Vic­to­ria is the only ju­ris­dic­tion in Aus­tralia that has a min­i­mum pro­ba­tion­ary driv­ing age of 18.

The LRCSC rec­om­mended that new driv­ers have a two phase P plate sys­tem, P1 and P2 – sim­i­lar to what is in place now, but with stricter pas­sen­ger rules.

It was sug­gested a newly li­censed driver (P1) not be al­lowed to carry any pas­sen­gers, whereas cur­rently they are al­lowed to carry fam­ily mem­bers or one pas­sen­ger.

The com­mit­tee also rec­om­mended re­strict­ing P1 driv­ers from driv­ing be­tween 10pm and 5am, un­less for em­ploy­ment, study or other au­tho­rised pur­poses.

LRCSC sug­gested that if the gov­ern­ment did not lower the driv­ing age, then a spe­cial ex­emp­tion process be made pos­si­ble for those liv­ing in ru­ral ar­eas need­ing to ac­cess travel for em­ploy­ment, ed­u­ca­tion or train­ing.

But Roads Min­is­ter Luke Don­nel­lan im­me­di­ately ruled out con­sid­er­ing the pro­posal, say­ing it would re­sult in more lives lost on Vic­to­rian roads.

“We be­lieve that it will re­sult in more loss of life on our roads,” he said.

“We know that peo­ple be­tween 18 to 25 years of age are four times more likely to lose their lives on the road or be in­volved in se­ri­ous in­juries.”

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