Drivers want P-platers banned at night

Sydney Morning Herald

18 July 2004
More than half of NSW and ACT drivers support a curfew banning P-platers from driving at night and believe learners shouldn't carry passengers, a new survey shows.

A survey of 400 residents found 53 per cent thought teenage provisional drivers should not be allowed behind the wheel between 10pm and 5am.

And 54 per cent believed they should only carry fully-licensed passengers aged over 20.

Both of these conditions are in effect in New Zealand.

The Pedestrian Council of Australia, which commissioned the report, said the results supported its call to urgently review the states' P-plate laws.

"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," council chairman Harold Scruby said.

"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."
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The survey, conducted this month, involved drivers aged 17 and over.

Results showed women and older people were more likely to support the restrictions.

But drivers aged 40-49 - a likely age for parents with teenagers - were more negative about the proposal than drivers aged 30 years and over.

The George Institute for International Health this month called for P-plate licence holders to be banned from driving in the first six months in a bid to reduce road accidents.

The idea was condemned by youth groups which claim the move was unwarranted and could place novice drivers in grave danger.

NSW Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) said the idea had already been thoroughly investigated and would impact on people working and studying.

But Mr Scruby said special exemptions allowing travel only to and from the permitted destinations could be introduced.

He called on NSW Roads Minister Carl Scully to consider emulating Victoria by lifting the age P-platers can get their license from 17 to 18, and
restricting them from driving high powered cars.

"If it has worked in Victoria, it can work throughout Australia," Mr Scruby said in a statement.

"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."