Seatbelts law review - Restriction on learners


Sunday 27 April 2003
YOUNG drivers will be banned from carrying too many passengers -- and could lose their licences if they do.

NSW Roads Minister Carl Scully told The Sunday Telegraph that by July 1, amendments to road rules would forbid learner and provisional drivers from carrying unrestrained passengers.

Under current laws, vehicles equipped with five seat-belts can also technically carry three additional passengers without seatbelts.

“I am going to move to ban learner drivers from carrying passengers unless they have restraints,” Mr Scully said. “I think the same provision should apply to P-platers.” He also reaffirmed plans for specific bans on drivers carrying passengers in the boots of cars, after two Sydney teenagers were killed on April 12.

St Ignatius College boarders Billy O'Connor and Sam Turner were thrown from the boot of a VW Golf in an accident on Mona Vale Rd following an 18th birthday party.
Under current laws, a person can travel in the goods compartment of a car if there is “no reasonable danger” of that person falling, being thrown or injured.

Mr Scully said wider bans on drivers carrying unrestrained passengers needed closer consideration.

“(Bans) have social and equity implications, particularly out in the bush, where people have one car and might have a large family,” he said.

The Pedestrian Council of Australia and the State Government's Staysafe road-safety committee first expressed concern about seatbelt law loopholes in 1998.

Staysafe chairman at the time, Labor MP Paul Gibson, said when he asked the Roads and Traffic Authority to change the law, it replied the law was quite adequate.

“I remember making the point, `what if people wanted to sit on the bonnet or the roof or in the boot?' It was a terrible anomaly,” he said.

PCA chairman Harold Scruby said under current laws, a driver could put the whole family in a trailer and drive them from Albury to Byron Bay, all without seatbelts, without incurring one demerit point and receiving just a paltry fine.