Bill to protect young drivers and their passengers

24 July 2013

Road Safety Minister Michael O’Brien today introduced a Bill into Parliament which proposes changes to the Graduated Licensing Scheme (GLS) that aim to protect South Australia’s young drivers and their passengers.

Mr O’Brien said the initiatives contained in the Motor Vehicles (Learner’s Permits and Provisional Licences) Amendment Bill 2013 follow extensive consultation and have the potential to save lives by reducing risks for young drivers.

“Key initiatives of the Bill include passenger and night-time driving restrictions for P1 drivers which will allow no more than one passenger aged 16 to 20 years (immediate family members are exempt) and no driving between midnight to 5am,” Mr O’Brien said.

“However, the Bill will also include an exemption system to these restrictions.

“This has been designed to address concerns from young drivers regarding employment, sporting and family commitments and volunteer activities.”

Under the exemption system:
* P1 drivers will be exempt from the passenger restrictions if they are required to carry multiple peer passengers during the course of their employment.
* P1 drivers will be exempt from the night-time driving restriction if they need to drive for employment, formal volunteer work, education, training or sporting purposes.

“The exemption system, which has the support of key stakeholders, will mean young people with work, education or sporting commitments are not restricted with the changes to the GLS,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Drivers will need to carry a letter from their employer, volunteer organisation, education, institution or sports association, or some other supporting evidence, if stopped by police.

“Young people are often required to change their working hours at short notice. The automatic exemption model provides flexibility and allows for immediate access to the exemption provisions.”

Passenger and night-time driving restrictions will also not apply if a P1 driver is aged over 25 or has a passenger acting as a Qualified Supervising Driver (QSD) in the front seat next to

them. A QSD is a person who has held a full driver’s licence continuously for at least two years.

In addition, police members driving on duty and members of other emergency services, both paid and volunteer, driving on duty, will be exempt from both restrictions. Twitter: @sa_press_sec

Mr O’Brien said key initiatives of the Bill include:
* A passenger restriction for P1 drivers under the age of 25, allowing no more than one passenger aged 16 to 20 years for the duration of their P1 licence, excluding immediate family members (with an exemption system).
* A restriction on driving between midnight and 5am for P1 drivers under the age of 25 for the duration of their P1 licence (with an exemption system).
* Extending the total minimum provisional licence period from two to three years. This will mean one year on a P1 licence and two years on a P2 licence.
* Removing regression to a previous licence stage following a disqualification period.
* The Hazard Perception Test (HPT) being a requirement of graduation from L to P1, rather than P1 to P2.

Mr O’Brien said the proposed changes were not about removing the freedom that comes with having a licence, but rather ensuring young drivers have the best start.

“Young drivers are at greatest risk of a crash in their first year of driving unsupervised and SA has the second-worst fatality rate for the 16 to 19-year-old age group than all Australian states and territories,” he said.

“If passenger and night-time restrictions had been in place over the past five years they had the potential to prevent 22 deaths, 240 serious injuries and 1397 minor injuries.

“These initiatives are already in place in other jurisdictions, the restrictions will only apply for 12 months on a P1 licence and the evidence tells us they will save lives.”

Further information about the changes to the GLS system can be found at My Licence.

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