Young Drivers and Australian Traffic Laws

by Lana Wilde on December 5, 2013

Young drivers face scores of dangers after passing their provisional driving test. Often, this is caused by the excitement of being able to drive which leads to lapses in their concentration and in some situation they lack substitute for experience. Compared to older and more experienced drivers, the young and inexperienced are more likely to cause road crashes, have injuries and fatalities. In Australia, young drivers aged between 15 and 34 years were injured in road accidents at a rate which was double the rate of the rest of the population is the 2004-2005 period.
Reasons for different laws for new drivers

Statistics demonstrates that, the greatest risk of road crash occurs during the provisional driving in the first year of P-plate. The same drivers have the lowest risk of crushing while under supervision during the learner period. The low risk experienced during the supervised Leaner period combined with the passing of the provisional driving tests creates a delusive sense of security that the rookie is a quality driver and ready to drive unassisted. The novice fall to understand that entering the provisional period is just but the beginning of the real test of driving safely. Due to this fact, a graduated approach was therefore introduced in the early provisional period to help the young and inexperienced drivers gain experience.

What the regulations say

The graduated licensing system which was introduced in 2007 by the Queensland Government stages driving to start with low risks situations and gradually introduce rookie drivers to more riskier and complex situations as the driving maturity increases. The system has seen the introduction of features such as:
· Certified minimum supervised driving hours on Learners. Young drivers aged below 25 years must hit 100 hours of evidenced supervised driving experience which is recorded in the learner logbook before the novice is eligible to apply for the provisional license.
· Peer passenger restrictions. Young people who are under 25 years and holders of P1 provisional license are only allowed to carry one passenger below the age of 21 years between 11pm and 5am. It has been observed that young novice driver crash risk increased when they have peer passengers on board. This is caused by peer pressure exerted on the driver to take risks such as speeding or distractions caused by similar age passengers.
· Restriction on late driving for suspended and disqualified young drivers. Many road crashes which lead to high fatalities of young people occur at night. This is more likely to be due to driving under the influence of alcohol especially on weekend nights and inexperience in night driving together with risk taking.
· Mobile Phone use including blue-tooth accessories, hands-free and loud-speaker functions have all been restricted for learners under 25 years and P1 license holders. Studies have shown that majority of motorists who have caused accidents in urban areas got distracted by phone calls or message alerts on their cell phones.
Frequent problems  young drivers face

Young people are risk takers and therefore are deterred from driving dangerously by new tough laws such as anti-hooning laws. According to the new traffic laws introduced recently in Australia, hoons will see their car impounded for 3 months following their first offense and no second chance. Two breaches of anti-hooning law may lead to the hoon’s car being crushed or sold. Many young drivers and car enthusiasts risk losing their nice cars on the whim of jealous police officers. This limits the liberty of driving modern high-powered sport cars as quite often young people will get flagged down and get issued with a speeding ticket.

What you as a young driver can do

Young drivers in Australia should take advantage of the new traffic law to building their driving skill and attain maturity. Many learner drivers have benefited from the mandatory supervised practice by reducing their crash risks by 35%. When obtaining your driver’s license under competency base scheme, learn to drive defensively by anticipating trouble before it happens. Heed the peer passenger restriction to increase your concentration on the wheel. Ask a fully licensed driver or a more experienced person to drive you and your peers if need be. Strive to gain experience in driving at night by practicing often under the supervision of an experienced driver to acquire more skills and concentration. Otherwise, you will be visiting a lawyer who specializes in the field of traffic offences much too often.

Lana Wilde
Lana explores the ways we can simplify our lives.
Lana Wilde

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