Majority want restrictions

The Sunday Telegraph

Sunday 22 August 2004
Exclusive poll on P-platers - SAVING YOUNG LIVES

By TONY VERMEER


MOVES to place new restrictions on P-plate drivers have widespread community support, according to a new poll.

The Newspoll survey, conducted exclusively for The Sunday Telegraph, found most people favoured rules limiting the size of vehicles young people could drive and the number of passengers they could carry.

A night-time curfew for novice drivers was not so popular. Only 45 per cent supported it.

Support for a curfew was higher among females. Fifty two per cent were in favour, compared to 38 per cent of males.

Fifty three per cent of Australians older than 50 also supported the ban, but only a third of those aged 18 to 34.

The poll found 82 per cent of people believed P-platers should not drive powerful vehicles.

Support for the proposition was evenly spread across age groups. Seventy nine per cent of 18 to 34-year-olds were in favour.

Limiting P-platers to carrying only one passenger was also popular with 57 per cent.
Newspoll managing director Sol Lebovic said the figures indicated the issue resonated strongly in the community.

On curfews, people were either strongly for or against.

Mr Lebovic said support for restrictions was almost universal.

Roads Minister Carl Scully has flagged introducing new restrictions -- including a 10pm to 6am curfew -- by the end of the year and has asked the RTA to prepare a discussion paper.

Lourdes Arteaga, 22, of Fairfield West, who recently qualified for her P-plates, would hate to have her newfound freedom curtailed by a curfew.

“It might save lives. However, (at the) weekend you couldn't really go out because you would have to be back before 10.

“That's the whole reason why you get your Ps.

“It has improved my life quite a bit. I can drive to TAFE, drive to the station and go out at night.

“Before I was always depending on other people. I don't want to go back to that.”
Curfews for novice motorists in most American states and New Zealand have reduced crash rates by up to 60 per cent.

Overseas hours vary. Some are from dawn until dusk, but most are between 10pm or midnight until 6am.

In New Zealand, research suggests the curfew contributes to lower crash rates for teenagers during the day.

A year after NZ introduced its system, which includes both passenger restrictions and curfews, there has been little opposition from young drivers.

They reported less peer pressure to provide lifts, to drive at night when tired or to drive after consuming alcohol.

Statistics show the accident risk for young drivers rises alarmingly when they carry passengers their own age.

One study suggested the death toll for young people could be cut by 38 per cent if they were prevented from carrying passengers.

This was despite the fact the number of young drivers on the road would probably increase.