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MEDIA RELEASE
Survey Reveals Majority of NSW Drivers Supports P-Plate Curfews and Passenger Restrictions

PCA Calls on NSW Government to Urgently Review P-plate Laws and to Emulate Victorian Legislation
Sunday 18 July 2004

Following unprecedented and widespread debate about night-time curfews and passenger restrictions for P-plate drivers, instigated by the PCA on 1 July 2004 (MR attached), the PCA commissioned leading research company AMR-Interactive to survey the views of NSW and ACT drivers regarding attitudes to these vital Road Safety initiatives.  In each case, despite these measures only being in the public arena for a short time, already a majority of drivers favour night-time curfews (53% in favour – 42% against) and passenger restrictions (54% in favour – 41% against).  The results are attached.

 

The Chairman of the PCA, Harold Scruby, said today: “There has been no decline whatsoever in the number of deaths on NSW roads over the past five years, particularly in the area of young P-plate drivers and their passengers.  In spite of a government commitment to save 820 lives by the end of this year, not one life has been saved and the NSW Death Toll on our roads continues unabated. 

Making Our Roads Safe

“Apart from introducing curfews and passenger restrictions, we also call on NSW Roads Minister Carl Scully to consider emulating parts of the Victorian licensing legislation where:

·         Drivers must be 18 before they can get their P-plate licence (17 in NSW)

·         Drivers must be 21 before they can get their full licence (20 in NSW)

·         All P-plate drivers are restricted from driving high powered motor vehicles (vehicles which either have a power to mass ratio which exceeds 125 kilowatts per tonne; or which have an engine capacity which exceeds 3.5 litres per tonne of the unladen mass of the vehicle).

 

“It is utterly absurd that the law in NSW allows children to drive, unsupervised, with a car-load of teenage passengers, in a turbo-charged V8.   A driver’s licence is a qualified privilege, it is not a right.  Driving unsupervised must be restricted to adults only, as in Victoria.  If a 17 year-old driver is responsible for a fatal or serious crash in NSW, he or she is tried as a juvenile with his or her name suppressed.  Children are not permitted to drink and nor should they be permitted to drive.

 

“For those who will argue about the ‘convenience factor’, if it has worked in Victoria, it can work throughout Australia.  Convenience must be the last consideration when it comes to saving the lives and limbs of this ”bullet-proof” age-group.  Studies have shown that at night, with additional young passengers, drivers in this category are up to 15 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash.  Where night-time jobs and education are concerned, special exemptions allowing travel only to and from the permitted destinations can be introduced.” Mr Scruby said.

 

“The Victorians have also introduced quasi passenger restrictions for P-platers.  If a P-plate driver has his or her licence cancelled or suspended within the first 12 months, upon regaining the provisional licence, the P-plater is then automatically restricted to carrying only one passenger. 

”Additionally, the recent Victorian tragedy in which a young L-plate driver was involved in a crash killing all 5 occupants of the vehicle demands national restrictions for L-plate drivers so that the only additional occupant is the licensed ‘instructor’.

 

“Existing restrictions for young drivers have not worked; the lethal cocktail of youth, inexperience, peer-group pressure and night-time driving will see more and more avoidable young deaths on our roads unless those responsible take immediate action. The evidence is overwhelming and screaming out for legislative change.  We call upon the NSW Government to convene a top-level summit to consider the urgent implementation of the above life-saving initiatives.” Mr Scruby added.

Attitudes to Night-time Driving and Passenger Restrictions for P-Plate Drivers in NSW and the ACT

TOPLINE RESULTS

Friday 16 July 2004

  

Background

 

Special restrictions on night-time driving and carrying of passengers apply to new, young drivers in New Zealand and many states in the US, as part of a graduated licensing scheme.

 

A preliminary survey was conducted in order to gauge public acceptance of restrictions in NSW, based on current restrictions in New Zealand.

 

Method

 

The telephone survey covered a sample of  399 licensed drivers aged 17 years and over, residing in NSW and the ACT.  Respondents were randomly selected from within a household to take part in the survey. The survey was conducted during July 2004.

 

Two proposals were presented to respondents. For the sake of clarity within a telephone survey method, the description of the proposed laws did not encompass all details of the types of restrictions in place in other jurisdictions.

 

  • Teenage P-plate drivers are not allowed to drive at night between 10pm and 5am, unless they are supervised by a fully-licensed driver over the age of 20.

 

  • Teenage P-plate drivers are not allowed to have other teenagers as passengers at any time, unless they are supervised by a fully-licensed driver over the age of 20.

 

The attitude to the proposals were measured on a 5 point agree/disagree scale

 

Results were weighted to reflect an approximate distribution of drivers, based on location, age, gender and education.

 

Preliminary results

 

About half of drivers agreed with each of the proposals, including a third ‘strongly’ agreeing:

  • 53% agreeing with the night time restrictions, and
  • 54% agreeing with the passenger restrictions.

 

Females tended to be somewhat more positive than males, although the differences were not very large:

  • 58% of females agreeing to the night time restrictions compared with 48% of males, and
  • 61% agreeing with the passenger restrictions compared with 47% of males.

Younger drivers, in particular aged under 25, were the most negative to the proposals – only a third of this group agreed to each of the proposals. The trend is clear despite the small sample sizes in the younger age groups. As might be expected, the small group of teenage drivers, to whom the restrictions would directly apply, were the most negative.

 

Interestingly, there was a trend for drivers aged 40-49 years also to be slightly more negative than other drivers aged 30 years and over. This group would contain a relatively high proportion of parents with teenagers. The trend suggests that parents of teenagers are, on average, less likely to consider that their children require additional restrictions; and that their children are capable of driving safely.

 

(Please note that where percentages are added, there may be a rounding error of ±1)

Attitude
TOTAL
GENDER
AGE GROUP
Male
Female
17-24
25-29
30-39
40-49
50-59
60+
(n=399)%
(n=199)%
(n=200)%
(n=39)%
(n=28)%
(n=89)%
(n=95)%
(n=77)%
(n=71)%
Night Time restrictions
Strongly agree
34
32
37
18
28
37
27
38
49
Slightly agree
19
16
21
16
24
26
16
21
11
Total agree
53
48
58
33
52
62
42
59
60
                   
Neither / don’t know
5
8
3
3
0
5
3
10
8
Slightly disagree
13
13
13
12
15
10
15
13
14
Strongly disagree
29
32
26
52
33
23
40
18
18
Total disagree
42
45
39
64
48
32
55
32
32
Total
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
                   
Passenger restrictions
Strongly agree
35
29
41
21
21
34
32
38
51
Slightly agree
19
19
20
13
32
23
17
17
17
Total agree
54
47
61
34
53
57
49
56
68
                   
Neither / don’t know
5
7
3
0
0
5
7
6
7
Slightly disagree
16
17
14
16
11
18
14
22
11
Strongly disagree
26
29
21
50
36
20
30
16
15
Total disagree
41
46
36
66
47
38
44
38
26
Total
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100

For further information: Jim Alexander (CEO AMR Interactive) - (02) 9020-6705

 
Source: Dr Allan Williams - (US) Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Source: Australian Transport Safety Bureau
MEDIA RELEASE
PCA Calls on all Roads & Transport Ministers to Introduce Night-time Curfews and Passenger Restrictions for P-Plate Drivers
Thursday 1 July 2004

Following a spate of lethal crashes involving young drivers, the Chairman of the PCA, Harold Scruby, today called on all state and territory Roads and Transport Ministers to introduce legislation which will significantly reduce this horrific and avoidable trauma.

 

Mr Scruby said: “We want night-time curfews on all P-plate (and L-plate) drivers and we want passengers accompanying P-plate drivers to be 25 years or older.  Such legislation is in place in New Zealand and in many states in the US.  To quote Dorothy Begg, a senior research fellow in the Injury Prevention Research Unit at the University of Otago, NZ: ‘There has been a significant reduction in traffic crash injury among young people since the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system was introduced … in particular the night-time curfew and the restriction on carrying young passengers’.”

 

“The statistics speak for themselves.  These horrific crashes occur mainly due to inexperience and peer-group pressure.  And they happen at night.  Many, probably most of these crashes could be avoided through the urgent introduction of this legislation.

 

“Apart from the pain, grief and suffering, road trauma costs the Australian community more than $6 billion dollars per annum and these crashes involving young drivers, represent a significant part of these costs.” Mr Scruby added.