Vicki Dunne stands up for the P-platers

By 10 January 2007 43


Vicki Dunne has gone to town in lambasting the recent hysterical attacks on young drivers.

“None of this has been thought through. It seems politicians and groups like the NRMA are in a race to see who can be the most hard-line in their attacks on our children.

“The response of some politicians to any complex social problem is to ramp up the punishments.

“Has anyone asked themselves what the likely reaction will be to a flashing blue light on the part of a young driver who suddenly realises he’s driving 5kph over the limit, and therefore facing the loss of his licence, perhaps his job, and certainly a huge slab of self-esteem? Do we want more car chases and probably MORE deaths?

The whole thing is well worth reading especially in the context of her deputy leader’s statements.

Vicki Dunne, I salute you!

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43 Responses to
Vicki Dunne stands up for the P-platers
VYBerlinaV8_now with 10:49 am
10 Jan 07

I don’t support the current measures being adopted to lower p-plate accidents, but it doesn’t take much effort to get up and have a shout without proposing any concrete alternatives (‘we need to do more’ and ‘we need to learn more’ are not a concrete alternatives).

What is really needed here is for a forum to be brought together to look dispassionately at the problem. All I keep hearing at the moment is the same emotive crapola. Where is the real driver training and education? Where is the testing that covers ALL the required skills? Where is the compliance/enforcement effort that doesn’t just blindly target ‘speeding’? There’s more to the story than this!

johnboy 10:54 am
10 Jan 07

nothing encourages good driving like the real possibility you might be pulled over and asked to explain just what the hell you’re doing.

andy 11:12 am
10 Jan 07

I don’t think I ever got pulled over, questioned, breathalysed, or saw a cash cow, in the entire time on my P’s.

vg 11:13 am
10 Jan 07

I have always thought that a drivers licence is soemthing that should be quite hard to get, and quite easy to lose. When people value their licences more, and the penalties for driving without a licence are commensurate with the licences value, then we will get somewhere.

It is more than clear that a large % of drivers, and a hell of a lot of them are right here in Canberra, couldn’t drive a greasy stick up a dog’s bum.

Speeding is naughty, and large excesses should be dealt with harshly, but I wonder what sort of improvements in driver behaviour we’d see if:

The fine for using a mobile phone whilst in charge of a motor vehicle was increased to $1000

The fine for the following offences increased to $500:

Failing to indicate,
Driving straight through the ‘middle’ of a roundabout,
Unsafe overtaking,
Failing to give way at a sign,
Failing to stop at a light/sign,
Driving over a pedestrian xing when people are still on it

How about any convictions of what could broadly be termed ‘road rage’ result in an automatic 3 month suspension of a licence for 3 months for a 1st offence, 6 months for a 2nd, and disqualification for 2 years for a 3rd.

Get rid of this ‘P Off’ course. You wear your P’s for the entire probationary period. I’ve lost count of the number of kids I’ve dealt with for driving stupidity who’ve just finished the said course.

Once the Courts actually start making recidivist driving offenders realise the value of a licence then we may head in the right direction. A little gaol time for recidivist offenders may open people’s eyes up a little as well

mutley 11:30 am
10 Jan 07

vg, I agree with you that increased consequences for these offences would help, but people might also think twice about doing those things if they thought they might actually be pulled over for it. I have seen people pulled over for mobile phone use, but never for one of the other ones listed, even in full view of a police vehicle (of course, my omnipotence is somewhat limited these days, so I’m sure it does happen).

bighead 11:32 am
10 Jan 07

I don’t think I ever got pulled over, questioned, breathalysed, or saw a cash cow, in the entire time on my P’s. – Andy

I have to say, I’m on my P licence for most of this year until I turn 20. But I too have only been breathalysed once, that was 2 years ago in one of those police set ups.

I don’t see many police around anymore, but I don’t hold it against them, the fact that Stanhope doesn’t give them enough money isn’t their fault.

I see a speed camera van once every so often, but even then people just slow down and aren’t caught.

vg, They are decent ideas, even I felt the L test was too easy, and getting your P’s just means behaving for your driving instructor, then you can do what you like once you have them.

I have done the P off course, I did it as soon as I could. Now I went because I wanted to, most people there were there because they had 1 point left on their licence and needed more points to keep their licence.

That to me just seems stupid, I think the laws are flawed. I still believe though, the laws and restrictions are not the problem, it’s the fact that people break them!

Out of interest, talking on a mobile is already illegal, they are trying to make talking on a handsfree illegal, but just how will they police people who talk on carkits? (like myself)

Will carkits become illegal too?

And vg, is listening to your ipod or whatever illegal while driving because headphones are in your ears?

johnboy 11:42 am
10 Jan 07

I think real enforcement of the rules we’ve got would help a lot more than inventing new ones that aren’t enforced either, or imposing a life wrecking penalty on the one poor schmuck who gets caught out of thousands.

darkladywolf 11:48 am
10 Jan 07

Lots of good thoughts here, Part of this problem is the need to actually police the laws we have. And to actually make being caught a worthwhile lesson.

The first requires more police (Duh). The second requires that Judges have options ranging from ‘slap on the wrist’ through ‘send them to a training course’ right through to ‘take away licence and impound car’. It also requires Judges to use options appropriately.

Just slapping punishments on people doesn’t seem to do much, I’ve noticed. But perhaps that’s because of how light a lot of those punishments are.

Shouldn’t we also be rewarding people. however? If all the above is done (appropriate laws, appropiate policing, appropriate sentencing), and someone makes it through their ‘P’ years without an infraction, why not give them a slightly cheaper license, or something similar?

Certainly that last idea needs a lot of work; but I’m sure you can see the direction it’s heading.

I’m living in a fantasy land, aren’t I?

Thumper 11:56 am
10 Jan 07

Rewards are not a bad suggestion, in fact I’d be all for them given my driving record which involves two speeding fines about 20 years ago.

However, the reward really is being able to drive on our roads.

I think VG has nailed it. VY has a valid point but all the education and training in the world is not going to change attitudes.

If some young idiot thinks he can drive like peter Brock then he will. Sadly, even the great Mr Brock didn’t prove immortal.

i’d be happy to see a two strike you out system. A person can make a mistake easily, even a very minor one. But if you know that you’re licence is riding on another mistake, then you will definitely pay attention.

Jey 12:05 pm
10 Jan 07

When I did the P-Off course one or two ppl were there because they had no points left, this, and those who attend because they have only 1 point left, should be banned.

xman 12:08 pm
10 Jan 07

Was listening to Hack (JJJ) in the car pre-Christmas and they had a boffin on from somewhere important sounding. His field of expertise was kids killing themselves in cars both in Oz and internationally.

He made some interesting observations about what programs had been implemented overseas and what had worked. I can’t recall all the detail, and the Hack website doesn’t help, but his main points were:

. The current hysteria was unwarranted – trends for kids dying in car accidents have been downward for a number of years,
. Overseas programs that included curfews, driver training courses (both school and post-school),etc had had little to no effect on death rates, and
. The only program that had shown a significant effect was limiting the number of passengers that a P-Plater was allowed to carry.

Distraction, showing off appeared to be the number one factor.

Did anyone catch this program and note who the boffin was or where his research was located?

Al 12:53 pm
10 Jan 07

Balance balance balance.
I know where you’re coming from VG, but you are talking about going too far. Next step – jail for chewing gum – hello Singapore.
JB’s spot on – let’s see adequate resourcing to enforce the laws that are already there – ’cause there sure don’t seem to be much of that happening in ACT. Most visible-police-free place I’ve every lived in.

J Dawg 1:36 pm
10 Jan 07

Get rid of this ‘P Off’ course. You wear your P’s for the entire probationary period. I’ve lost count of the number of kids I’ve dealt with for driving stupidity who’ve just finished the said course.

So are you saying that P-platers drive differently because they are no longer wearing their P’s? Because I agree with wearing P Plates for the entire Provisional license period. I’m a P-plater, and I definetly plan to do P Off soon, however I would still wear my P’s in certain situations. The whole idea of wearing P plates is to show other drivers that you do not have much experience, and how can you do that if you aren’t displaying that?

Maelinar 1:50 pm
10 Jan 07

Is it out of the question to increase the eligible age for L and P plates due to the high fatality rate involved with giving it to somebody so young ?

Also, having watched a roundup of accident footage over the Christmas Black period, how many high-performance cars were there!

Gone are the days of P platers putting around in 1.3litre Nissan Sunny, nowdays they are in hotted up little rockets strapped to 4 wheels. I think a L or a P plater should not be allowed to own their vehicle unless they are over the minimum age bracket (aka adult learners). In addition to being a cool idea, a higher sense of responsibility – not getting up to tomfoolery Mum/Dad’s car on account of if you crash you’re in a much bigger world of hurt would be enforceable.

But then again, the flipside is that these kids that were roadkill this Christmas break were probably brought those vehicles by aforementioned supposedly responsible parents.

Thumper 2:00 pm
10 Jan 07

“The whole idea of wearing P plates is to show other drivers that you do not have much experience, and how can you do that if you aren’t displaying that?”

Well said J dawg…

Manny 2:02 pm
10 Jan 07

I would have to agree with you there, increase the age, P platers have no passengers unless they are their parents(dont know how you police that but its worth a try) and P Platers shouldnt be able to drive a car more than 4 cylinders, anything above that they seem to not be able to handle! Mind you some adults are in that category as well!

Deadmandrinking 2:28 pm
10 Jan 07

Why is every liberal capable of logical thought either in state government or the federal back-bench?

VYBerlinaV8_now with 2:40 pm
10 Jan 07

Youngsters will always try to find out where the limits of their cars are (at least the boys all do). If I had my current V8 when I was 17 I doubt I’d be here to talk about it. I think we should set stringent restrictions on power to weight ratios for young drivers (not this 125kW per tonne crap like Victoria), so at least when they lose it it all happens at a much lower speed. To give an example, a kid borrowing dad’s standard Holden V8 can easily get to over 200km/h in about 30 seconds or so, and feel very safe and stable until you get to the limit of its dynamic capabilities, at which point its all too late. It’s just too easy to overcook it when you aren’t experienced with fast cars.

gurunik 3:38 pm
10 Jan 07

i reckon that all prospective car drivers should spend a year on a motorcycle before being able to gain a licence for 2 tons of steel. i’m quite sure it would weed out the idiots…..

darkladywolf 3:46 pm
10 Jan 07

One point that I don’t know how to address is how those who do display their plates (both L’s and P’s) are often ‘targets’.

I’ve been the ‘licenced driver’ for quite a few friends on L’s and been in many P plater cars too. The agression, rudeness and stupidity that I’ve seen is far worse than I’ve experienced having a full license.

That can lead to everything from nervousness to anger in the L or P plater and sends them all the wrong lessons.

ross69 4:21 pm
10 Jan 07

I’m 23 and just obtained my Ps a few months ago after being on my Ls for 3 years in which i clocked up over 200 hours for my log book. i like to think i did the right thing by waiting till i was extremely confident to obtain my Ps as there will never be just me in my car. i also have a young child with another on the way as well as a partner who is unable to drive for atleast another year due to injury which makes me the primary drivr in my household. Though there are alot of idiots on the road, P platers and Fully Licensed, y should Older P platers and the Like be penalised for doing the right thing. Reforms will never be good enough for anyone.

publius 4:46 pm
10 Jan 07

I have no problem with the comments by Mrs Burke and Mrs Dunne – it shows there are a number of facets to this issue. Evans from the NRMA has come up with a few suggestions, built around research. However, that would serve to toughen existing conditions for p platers. But the key question is do we need new laws/rules? We would appear to need more police in cars – on patrol – ie “visible” in Canberra. I have not seen a car over this holiday break while driving. No doubt those on duty are out over at Summernats. The police presence in Canberra is a joke.

el 6:32 pm
10 Jan 07

Agreed Publius. I think I saw 2 speed cameras (the use of which I’m not a big supporter of anyway, AFAICT they’re mainly setup on wide, straight sections of road for revenue raising and nothing much in the way of actual road *safety*) and nothing else for the whole holiday break.

Not once did I get breath tested or stopped to see if my vehicle (a fairly noisy old V8 Berlina) was roadworthy/unregistered (and yes, I did a _shitload_ of driving round the city over the period, including Christmas Eve, Christmas+Boxing Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day – both during daylight and night-time hours, between Tuggeranong, Woden, Belco, inner north areas like Dickson/Ainslie, and the city centre itself) So it’s nothing to do with Summernats as far as I can tell, they just don’t have enough manpower at _any_ time of the year.

More rules won’t make a shit of difference if there’s no police to enforce them. This is precisely why I never wore my ‘P’ plates as a teenager. Got pulled for it once (well, they were checking to see if the car was stolen then saw my ‘P’ license) but I got off with a warning anyway, as there was confusion as to when the Ps were legally allowed to be removed.

ross69 6:40 pm
10 Jan 07

I live in sydney (though canberra born and bred) this is obviously a national problem so my main problem is more about the reforms they published in the daily telegraph today but more than likely they will try and enforce the same rules nationally.

ross69 6:43 pm
10 Jan 07

They’ve also started showing ad’s as from today about police targeting P Plater speeding. so those fully licensed drivers who sit on our slow butt’s beeping there horn at us have no worries about being pulled over.

talk some sense 11:33 pm
10 Jan 07

Are you people kidding? Joking about banning young men, men, older people from driving as a sarcastic response to the p-plate laws.

talk some sense 11:37 pm
10 Jan 07

Are you people kidding? Joking about banning young men, men, older people from driving as a sarcastic response to the p-plate laws.

Yes p-platers aren’t the only ones dying on our roads. But don’t you think that the older people who are dying were once p-platers who flaunted laws and were lucky to survive this long?

Perhaps these laws will cause a generational change in perceptions, and by targeting the problem with our new drivers, breed better drivers so that there are less people dying across all age groups?

Instead of sitting back ridiculing these decisions with your razor-sharp sarcasm (and thinking you’re clever), try some constructive criticism.

I’ve never seen such a bitchy site where people offer so much criticism and sarcasm, but so little solutions.

johnboy 11:47 pm
10 Jan 07

Ahh my favourite, the uber-whinger!

A whinger who whinges about whinging.

And apparently someone holds a gun to your head and forces you to view websites you don’t like!

crabb 12:08 am
11 Jan 07

FWIW, Police cars were very visible on Northbourne Ave towards EPIC, and even into Gungahlin, all through Summernats. Hadn’t seen that many all year.

shauno 6:31 am
11 Jan 07

Having been a rev head from year dot and owning every thing from 500hp subaru’s, V8′s, rotaries, 6′s and a 911 GT3 I would say that they are on the right track for reducing P plater deaths but and this is a big but. I admit ive lost my licence a few times due to points mainly speeding on aussie empty open roads. Ive had no accidents accept while rally driving on dirt. Ive driven many thousands of kms LHD in Europe on unlimited roads in germany and 130km speed limited roads in France. The fact is its media hysteria. Also Who the fuck made up the stupid comment ” its a privilege to drive not a rite.” My question is why is this and who decided it was a privilege. For fuck sake the rate of deaths on our roads is fuck all. The NT has just reduced its unlimited roads to 130km/hr Id like to be pointed to the fact that the deaths of NT roads were directly attributable to unlimited speed. And yes stiff shit im not politically correct.

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