Teen sees merit in lower age

Mansfield Courier - - OPINIONS/PEOPLE -

KLODI Ward i s a l ocal teenager who has to travel 40 kilo­me­tres from her home near Be­nalla t o at­tend work and school in Mans­field.

“I rely on my fam­ily to take me ev­ery­where,” she ex­plained.

“I’m very lucky that they think it’s im­por­tant that I work, so are happy to do the driv­ing for me – but it would make life so much eas­ier if I were able to drive my­self.” Klodi turns 17 this May. De­spite the al­lure of an ear­lier in­de­pen­dent driv­ing age, she did tell the Mans­field Courier she thought any 17-year-old driver should still be made to sit the 120 hours driv­ing on L plates, plus com­plete a manda­tory de­fen­sive driv­ing test.

“I think driv­ing at 17, par­tic­u­larly for kids in re­gional ar­eas, would be a great ad­van­tage,” she ex­plained.

“For t eenagers, i t makes sense that you can’t drink and drive, legally, on the same day – be­ing able to get your li­cense at 17 would give us twelve months on the road first, but there should be some con­di­tions.

“Ev­ery driver should still have to do their 120 hours, I think, and an ex­tra course would be good too – on how to re­act safely.”

THE RACV is among sev­eral bod­ies which have en­dorsed the gov­ern­ment’s re­jec­tion of low­er­ing the pro­bar­i­onary driv­ing age from 18 to 17 in Vic­to­ria.

RACV gen­eral man­ager of pub­lic pol­icy, Brian Ne­gus, said the li­cens­ing age should be based on ev­i­dence that puts the safety of all Vic­to­ri­ans first.

“RACV does sup­port the State Gov­ern­ment cre­at­ing in­cen­tives, for ex­am­ple a dis­count on reg­is­tra­tion, to get more young peo­ple into safer five-star cars,” Mr Ne­gus said.

“Fur­ther­more, an RACV sur­vey of young peo­ple found that while a lack of trans­port af­fected their so­cial trips, only a few said it im­pacted their abil­ity to get em­ploy­ment.

“If trans­port is con­sid­ered to be a prob­lem, then govern­ments need to pro­vide bet­ter trans­port op­tions in re­gional ar­eas and im­prove timetable co­or­di­na­tion be­tween dif­fer­ent modes of trans­port to meet the needs of young peo­ple.”

NO CHANGE: When you see this P plate in Vic­to­ria you will know the driver is at least 18 years of age.

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