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Driver curfew for P-platers

Sunday-Telegraph

Sunday 18 July 2004
By TONY VERMEER

THE distraught parents of a young P-plater killed in a late night crash last week have called for a curfew and vehicle curbs for teenage drivers.

Warren and Val Abbott, of Silverdale, said stricter laws were needed for young drivers so their son and his mates did not die in vain.

Warren Abbott Jnr, 17, and Danny Vandervolk, 18, died when a high-powered Holden Calais they had borrowed for a joy ride hit a tree at high speed in Sydney's outer south-west around 11.30pm last Monday.

Their deaths occurred the day after The Sunday Telegraph launched a campaign to save young lives with a night curfew and other restrictions on P-plate drivers. Only two years ago, four of their friends were killed on the same road.

"A curfew is a start. I know people say it's an inconvenience, but life's full of inconveniences and what's more important than somebody's life," said Mr Abbott, as he cradled a picture of his son. "They should limit the power of the cars. They do it with motorbikes. Why not cars?"

He said he would like to see computer chips on licences linked to engine speed-limiters. Young drivers would then have to swipe the licence before starting the car, setting a maximum speed.

Crashes have claimed eight local lives in two years. Almost everybody in Silverdale knows someone who has died.

Police cannot say who was driving on Monday, such was the force of the accident.

Support is growing for added restrictions on P-platers, with a new survey showing most people support a curfew and curbs on the number of passengers young drivers can carry.

The survey, commissioned by the Pedestrian Council of Australia, found 53 per cent agreed with a 10pm to 5am curfew, while 54 per cent agreed with passenger restrictions on P-Platers.

NSW Opposition Leader John Brogden said he supported passenger restrictions and moves to limit the power-weight ratio of cars P-platers are allowed to drive.

NSW Roads Minister Carl Scully said he would consider restricting the type of cars P-platers could drive, if road safety experts could show there would be a benefit.