P plate age to stay, for safety sake
Minister rejects new bid to drop the age from 18 to 17
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.”