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New drivers put under the microscope

By MsJane - 17 April 2014 24

time-to-talk

Attorney-General Simon Corbell is asking the Canberra community to participate in the ACT Driver Survey and have a say on how to improve road safety for Learner and Provisional licence holders.

The survey is being conducted as part of the ACT Graduated Driver Licensing Scheme review.

“The review is looking into a range of options to improve the safety of new drivers, such as minimum supervised driving hours and passenger restrictions,” Mr Corbell said.

In 2012, 14 per cent of drivers involved in casualty crashes in the ACT were provisional licence holders, despite only representing about 7 per cent of all licence holders.

“As research has shown that inexperience is a significant factor in the rate of novice driver crashes, the survey also includes specific questions about the community’s experiences as novice drivers.

“While it is appropriate for the review to have a strong focus on improving road safety outcomes, the Government is aware of the possible impact that some restrictions and sanctions can have on young drivers and their families. Consideration will be given to feedback about the potential need for exemptions in particular circumstances.”

The ACT Driver Survey can be completed at Canberra Connect Shopfronts and online at www.timetotalk.act.gov.au. Further information on the review is available at www.justice.act.gov.au.

What’s Your opinion?


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24 Responses to
New drivers put under the microscope
1
curmudgery 9:41 am
17 Apr 14
#

I recommend a couple of mandatory Friday and Saturday nights in the Emergency Department at Canberra Hospital followed by a fact-finding visit to the morgue. No exemptions.

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2
Solidarity 11:13 am
17 Apr 14
#

What’s that going to do? Nothing.

Kids need to be taught properly, and how to control a car properly.

1) Scrapping of automatic only licenses
2) Scrapping of the “logbook” scheme
3) Mandatory skills test involving a skidpan
4) Mandatory braking and swerve test (It needs to be done to get your P’s on a motorbike, why not a car?)
5) Much more emphasis placed on driving to the condition rather than the speed limit

About a million other things too.

Who am I kidding though, it’ll never happen, and stupid surveys such as this one will continue to happen.

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3
NoImRight 11:29 am
17 Apr 14
#

curmudgery said :

I recommend a couple of mandatory Friday and Saturday nights in the Emergency Department at Canberra Hospital followed by a fact-finding visit to the morgue. No exemptions.

Kids think they are immortal so arent going to be “scared straight”. Driver education could be stepped up but also requires some commitment from parents etc to be role models and or provide positive support. Lethargy – the game the whole family can play.

Unless we want to wrap them in cotton wool young people will probably always be overrepresented in accidents. It makes sense that inexpereienced drivers will have more accidents than experienced ones.

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4
VYBerlinaV8_is_back 11:39 am
17 Apr 14
#

Raise the overall standard of driving by retesting everyone each time they renew their license. Increase license price to cover this cost.

But of course no government will do this, because they will get voted out by the many people who would fail the test.

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5
Tenpoints 11:39 am
17 Apr 14
#

Solidarity said :

What’s that going to do? Nothing.

Kids need to be taught properly, and how to control a car properly.

1) Scrapping of automatic only licenses
2) Scrapping of the “logbook” scheme
3) Mandatory skills test involving a skidpan
4) Mandatory braking and swerve test (It needs to be done to get your P’s on a motorbike, why not a car?)
5) Much more emphasis placed on driving to the condition rather than the speed limit

About a million other things too.

Who am I kidding though, it’ll never happen, and stupid surveys such as this one will continue to happen.

1) Manual cars with manual clutches are getting less and less common. I reckon in 20 years only purists will still be driving manuals.
2) What’s the best way to get experienced? Driving! The logbook is simply a way to validate your driving experience to the authorities. If you scrap the logbook how will you get new drivers with actual experience and not zero experience on a real road with real hazards.
3)Agree, car control is an essential skill to have. It’s saved me from going sideways off the road many a time.
4)Agree.
5)Agree. Note that speed limits are limits however. Any training scheme should not encourage drivers to speed in good conditions, rather to slow down below the limit in POOR conditions.

I really don’t see why it’s such a tall order to enforce mandatory driving skills training for all drivers. Driving a car is not a cheap exercise under anyone’s perspective and $250 for a skills course is negligble compared to the cost of vehicle damage and injury caused by unsafe driving. It’s also pretty fun to do the course!

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6
Tenpoints 1:14 pm
17 Apr 14
#

For what it’s worth, I just sent this to communicationsandengagement@act.gov.au:

Hi ACTGOV,

I came across your Driver Survey and put my response in, but I’d like to provide more of my input here as I strongly disagree with the your objective of restricting passenger hours for young and inexperienced drivers. Your survey did not allow me to voice my concerns adequately so here they are in an email:

Note: I initially wrote as if you were planning to restrict inexperienced drivers from driving at night full stop, having missed the mention of driving at night “with more than one passenger”. As a result, the first two points apply somewhat to the argument but more if you were going to put a curfew on all inexperienced drivers. The third and fourth points represent my views on the night-time passenger restrictions.

First: A blanket rule will hurt the masses more than it benefits the minority.

Canberra is still a very car-focused city. The ACTION bus service is determined by many of the general public to be slow and ineffective.

So you want to restrict young drivers from driving at night?

For all those people that work in the service industry (bars, restaurants and clubs etc) are you going to make it harder for them to get home?

For all those people who rely on their car for income (e.g delivery drivers whether it be goods or pizza) are you going to make it harder for them to do their job?

For all those people who do shift work which requires them to drive at odd hours are you going to make it harder for them to get to their job?

For all those people who carpool to save money (and the environment) are you going to make it harder for them to do that?

So you talk exemptions but how are you going to enforce this? Are you going to pull over every P plater driving after dark to make sure they’ve got at max one passenger or an exemption? The rego plate doesn’t necessarily ID the driver of the car.

Second: Experience solves inexperience

What’s way the best way to not be an inexperienced driver? By actually driving in those conditions! That’s why NSW has a log book and you need to do a minimum number of hours driving in a wide range of conditions including darkness so you can build experience driving to the conditions. Are we going to barr all P platers from driving at night and then when they get their full licence deal with a bunch of drivers who have zero experience in the hazards of night driving (low visibility, kangaroos, fatigue etc) not to mention annoyance issues like not knowing how to use high beams?

Third: Driver Training

Have you considered mandatory driver training? I went to an opt in driver training course from this company http://www.sdt.com.au/safe-driving-programs-defp.html when I was on my L’s back in 2004. It cost me about $250, which is pretty insignificant compared to the total cost of driving a car around in this day and age, notwithstanding the event of any accident causing damage and/or injury.

The ability to control a car in adverse situations has saved me from several experiences which would have otherwise caused damage to myself, my car or other people/property if I had not had the hands on training in safe stopping distances, handling with limited traction (i.e skid correction manoeuvres) and real stories about the trauma costs of accidents for awareness purposes. I believe mandatory driver training is the best way to positively focus on driver safety and train a generation of safer and more skilled drivers.

Fourth (in regard to passenger restrictions after dark): Various additional points

On the subject of driving with restrictions on passengers. I agree that in my experience, driving with a car full of teenagers is significantly more distracting than driving with zero or one passengers. I wouldn’t say a car full of responsible passengers who don’t actively endanger themselves by distracting the driver is not a risk worth addressing with this policy.

On another note, using your mobile phone – even with a handsfree kit – is very distracting regardless of how many people in your vehicle. Checking facebook or sending texts while driving is a whole new level of risk again, one that is becoming widespread across the general population, not just inexperienced drivers.

Of course there’s the anecdote that immediately springs to mind: A car full of teenagers recklessly driving around the suburbs in the small hours of the morning, possibly also intoxicated, unlicensed, driving an unregistered vehicle.

What are you actually targeting here? What prompts this move towards passenger restrictions? Is there data to support a significant proportion of inexperienced driver accidents having multiple people in the car?

I believe we need to address widespread driver distraction issues first before we bluntly target a small proportion of drivers who go hooning around at night with their mates. Seriously, if these people don’t respond to our existing police presence levels in regard to then how is an additional restriction (which is only enforceable with police presence after dark) going to change the status quo, other than further alienate young driver’s attitudes from the government rules?

I noticed that you didn’t actually collect data on whether people do drive after dark and if they take multiple passengers when doing so, or if people generally thought that taking passengers after dark constitutes an unacceptable risk for young and inexperienced drivers with regard to the safety of themselves, their passengers and anyone else in the vicinity of the car.

Conclusion

To conclude, I agree that inexperience is a significant factor (if not the biggest factor) in young driver crashes. I assert that The best way to gain experience is to partake in professionally delivered training. The second best way to gain experience is to take that training and actually use it on the road without more nanny state restrictions to inconvenience the majority for the temporary insulation of a few drivers who take irresponsible risks and will probably continue to do so regardless of unenforceable restrictions such as these.

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7
Solidarity 2:57 pm
17 Apr 14
#

Tenpoints said :

1) Manual cars with manual clutches are getting less and less common. I reckon in 20 years only purists will still be driving manuals.
2) What’s the best way to get experienced? Driving! The logbook is simply a way to validate your driving experience to the authorities. If you scrap the logbook how will you get new drivers with actual experience and not zero experience on a real road with real hazards.
3)Agree, car control is an essential skill to have. It’s saved me from going sideways off the road many a time.
4)Agree.
5)Agree. Note that speed limits are limits however. Any training scheme should not encourage drivers to speed in good conditions, rather to slow down below the limit in POOR conditions.

I really don’t see why it’s such a tall order to enforce mandatory driving skills training for all drivers. Driving a car is not a cheap exercise under anyone’s perspective and $250 for a skills course is negligble compared to the cost of vehicle damage and injury caused by unsafe driving. It’s also pretty fun to do the course!

1) Learning to drive a car with a manual transmission gives you much more understanding on how a car works, essential knowledge when it comes to driving a car. If you can’t complete the test in a manual car, there is always the bus.

2) I mean logbook as in ticking off the competencies one by one, the logbook as in getting lots of hours under your belt I 100% agree with.

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8
house_husband 4:54 pm
17 Apr 14
#

I know this is counterintuitive, but because you would expect young drivers to have more accidents I’m more concerned with the 30+ yo drivers who have regular accidents in spite of being more experienced. That to me indicates they may never become better drivers which seriously brings into question their right to drive a car.

As for younger drivers some form of defensive driving course needs to be mandatory. Practical skills in controlling a car when it is wet or you need to brake hard and avoid hitting something.

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9
wildturkeycanoe 5:45 pm
17 Apr 14
#

What these young learners need is to get behind the wheel of a car on a gravel road out in the bush and wide enough to not hit any obstacles. Then with an experienced driver in the passenger seat guiding them they can unleash everything, learning from experience what happens on a slippery surface if you do the wrong thing. It can also be a great tool for teaching correction and over correction, the difference in braking distance from normal road conditions and if lucky enough they may roll the car doing these maneuvers. That is an experience that will teach most people what not to do in the real world and for several years they might drive to the road rules. Note: this is not recommended to be done in a valuable car, preferably one with limited life left such as a Mitsubishi Lancer, Ford Laser or Hyundai Coupe. Unfortunately all small cars are front wheel drive nowadays so driving techniques and vehicle handling have gone out the window. I blame modern thinking for this fatal flaw because rear wheel drive vehicles are much better in handling when conditions are wet and slippery. How many front wheel drive cars do you see in racing, be it rally or road? Has to say something for old school ways! Also, we have become too reliant on computers to do our thinking for us, with ABS, parking sensors, stability control, airbags, etc. If we feel vulnerable we won’t be so tempted to do risky things, but once inside the cocoon of comfort new drivers will feel invincible. This is not how anybody should perceive their time on the road, rather, they should realize how deadly the car can become.

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10
OpenYourMind 8:00 pm
17 Apr 14
#

Solidarity said :

Tenpoints said :

1) Manual cars with manual clutches are getting less and less common. I reckon in 20 years only purists will still be driving manuals.
2) What’s the best way to get experienced? Driving! The logbook is simply a way to validate your driving experience to the authorities. If you scrap the logbook how will you get new drivers with actual experience and not zero experience on a real road with real hazards.
3)Agree, car control is an essential skill to have. It’s saved me from going sideways off the road many a time.
4)Agree.
5)Agree. Note that speed limits are limits however. Any training scheme should not encourage drivers to speed in good conditions, rather to slow down below the limit in POOR conditions.

I really don’t see why it’s such a tall order to enforce mandatory driving skills training for all drivers. Driving a car is not a cheap exercise under anyone’s perspective and $250 for a skills course is negligble compared to the cost of vehicle damage and injury caused by unsafe driving. It’s also pretty fun to do the course!

1) Learning to drive a car with a manual transmission gives you much more understanding on how a car works, essential knowledge when it comes to driving a car. If you can’t complete the test in a manual car, there is always the bus.

2) I mean logbook as in ticking off the competencies one by one, the logbook as in getting lots of hours under your belt I 100% agree with.

I used to think along the same lines as you about learning on manuals. The simple fact is that manuals are getting relegated to anachronisms in the same way as spark advances, chokes, magnetos etc. Sure they taught you about how an engine worked, but that knowledge is irrelevant.

Same for skid control. People think that learning to control a car in a skid is the most important skill in driver training. Nah! You have to work really hard to put a modern stability controlled car in a decent skid.

There’s far more important things particularly around the consequences of inattention etc. Cars already look after skid control, braking lockup and now even handle situations where we have failed to brake in time. Get with the times, my friend.

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11
Madam Cholet 9:02 am
18 Apr 14
#

My main concern is that young people are learning from their parents who flout road rules every time they drive, whether that be speeding, not indicating, tailgating, driving in the right hand lane when you are not over-taking…..all the things we see on a very regular basis. I think that learner a should have lessons from a qualified instructor – at the very least a minimum number that is perhaps a significant percentage of the average number of lessons taken by your average learner. I know it can get expensive but holding a driving licence and being let loose on the roads is a privilege not a right.

I have noticed more driver training companies getting about on the roads lately so maybe it’s becoming more popular and there is a generation of parents who care enough about their kids to get them some lessons. I learnt to drive in the UK, back when it cost £10 per lesson. I had 20 lessons in a manual car and passed my test first time. I was a confident driver but was not allowed by my instructor to take my test until he thought I was ready and safe.

I have known people in Australia who have taken their tests after 4 lessons in an automatic vehicle. That these inexperienced people are on our roads is utterly terrifying to me. One girl I knew passed here test after four lessons but admitted she didn’t like being out in the car. She then transferred to driving a manual after a year with no further lessons. How is this allowable?

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12
Masquara 3:45 pm
19 Apr 14
#

There must be some way to stop P platers texting while driving, weaving all over the road. Can there be some technology installed that will shut their phones off while they are in their car?

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13
bronal 7:20 pm
19 Apr 14
#

Masquara said :

There must be some way to stop P platers texting while driving, weaving all over the road. /quote]

It’s called ‘death’.

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14
gazket 9:56 pm
19 Apr 14
#

“Pedestrian casualties account for around 5% of all casualties, 47% of which were younger than 24 years of age.”
They can’t seem to walk safely either

“The majority (around 81%) of vehicles involved in crashes were cars and station wagons
10% of vehicles were utilities and panel vans”
contrary to riot act opinion Traidies are one of the safest drivers

“Most crashes occur on weekdays between 7 am and 8 pm. The sharp peaks from
8 am to 9 am and 5 pm to 6 pm coincide with the relatively short and confined traffic
volume peaks in the ACT”
Public servants are crap drivers and need to be put under the microscope

“Males account for 51% of all casualties”
This should change to a lower %age now that we have gender X

The single most vulnerable age group seems to be between 20 and 24 accounting for nearly 17% of all casualties.
These people have a full license and the gov couldn’t care less about them .

ahh statistics we can make of them what we will.

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15
Deckard 10:10 pm
19 Apr 14
#

I think we need to raise the legal driving age to 30. This is the only way to stop drivers under 30 dying on our roads…

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