Mosman & Lower North Shore Daily - Thursday 3 March 2005
Raise P-plate age
LAUREN Waters, 17, admits she's a nervous passenger with some of her friends who are P-plate drivers.
The Cremorne resident and part-time Neutral Bay worker doesn't have a driver's licence but says she supports any government proposal that raises the minimum driving age from 17 to 18 years.

"Seventeen-year-olds should not be given a provisional driver's licence," she said.

"Many are not mature enough and I have got to the stage where I refuse to get into a car with a driver who I feel is not good enough."

But she does not agree with driver curfews because "P-platers will simply take their plates off".
She is a supporter of better driver education and more parental involvement with teenage learners.

A NRMA report this week suggested extra tuition from parents and not necessarily night curfews or raising the minimum driving age would do more to protect young drivers. This contradicts recent statements from NSW Roads Minister Michael Costa, who is seeking to have the minimum age lifted as part of a proposal at a RTA summit planned for next month.

The Government has said the summit would explore improving the quality of P-plate training to be more skills-based. Ms Waters, who will sit her learner's licence in the next few months, said the prospect was daunting.

"Some of my friends are good drivers and some just should not be driving at all. The bad ones are just trying to be cool and going too fast they should also limit the engine capacity of the car they can drive."

Pedestrian Council of Australia chairman Harold Scruby said young people could not drink or go to war until they were 18 but they could drive a car.

"Children should not drive lethal weapons. Leave the L-plate age at 16 and learn for another two years would be the best experience."

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