Youth curfew ‘silly’

Manly Daily

Saturday 10 July 2004
DESPITE dealing with delinquent drivers nearly every day in court, Manly magistrate Andrew George believes a US-style curfew on P-plate drivers would unfairly discriminate against young motorists.

“I think it's a silly idea,” he said.

“I think it would be very unfair. There's plenty of young people who are very sensible in motor vehicles who would be unfairly prejudiced by this.

“I think it would make more sense to limit the amount of passengers they could take but I would need to hear arguments for and against it (before supporting it).”

The magistrate's comments came in response to public debate raised by the Australian Pedestrian Council.

The organisation has called for a 9pm curfew for P-plate drivers, restrictions on the use of high-power vehicles, lifting the legal driving age to 18 and limiting passenger numbers.

Chairman Harold Scruby said the death of a teenager at Mosman late last month demonstrated the need to amend the laws surrounding P-plate drivers.

“This has come about because of the girl who was killed in the crash at Mosman,” he said.

Mr Scruby said the proposals may have sounded tough, but they were about saving lives.

“That they can only have one passenger and that person must be over 21 and have a driver's licence, so it's effectively an extension of the L-plate,” he said.

“It gets worse when they have people with them. I think there's peer group pressure and (the idea of) immortality.

“People don't think they become mortal until they are 25.”

Visiting US Insurance Institute for Highway Safety spokesman Allan Williams also criticised NSW's policies on P-plate drivers.

He reportedly told a conference in Sydney that the speed restrictions on provisional drivers were “crazy” and curfews were a more effective means of lowering the road toll.

More than 30 US states have adopted curfews.

The calls for new measures have received a lukewarm response from the RTA. A statement released by the authority states the idea of a curfew is not new and has previously been investigated.

However the RTA says it may review its stance in response to community interest.