An Australian road safety advocacy group has controversially suggested that men should not qualify for a driver’s license until they are 21, following a series of high-profile deaths and serious injury accidents involving youth.
According to a controversial proposal from the head of an Australian road safety lobby group, men under the age of 21 should not get a driver’s license.
As reported by The guardThe President of the Australasian College of Road Safety (ACRS) – Professor Emeritus Ann Williamson – believes the over-representation of young drivers in car accidents must trigger an overhaul of the country’s approach to road safety.
“There is no doubt that some young novice drivers will be better than others,” said Professor Williamson. “If we can identify those who are likely inherently more risky and limit their licensing, do that a little later.
“Young men, maybe they should be 21 or 22 before they get their driver’s license.
“It’s very controversial, but those are all things to think about.”
In Australia, the age at which drivers can obtain an independent driving license varies from state to state.
The Northern Territory allows residents as young as 16.5 to be tested for a provisional driver’s license, while all other states and territories – with the exception of Victoria – require applicants to be 17 before taking their driving test.
In Victoria, learner drivers cannot take their provisional driving test until they are 18 years old.
“There was a lot of discussion about how we could make things safer for young novice drivers as a result of this accident (at Buxton),” said Professor Williamson 3AW‘s Ride with Tom Elliott radio station.
“Currently there are a number of restrictions on young learner drivers – we have a tiered licensing system in most of Australia where you can’t get your license until you are 18 in Victoria or 17 in New South Wales.
“(Young drivers) have to do a certain amount of practice, there is no alcohol, they are not allowed to touch mobile phones and there are restrictions on the types of vehicles (they are allowed to drive).
“The reason for these restrictions is that young drivers are not necessarily good drivers yet.”
According to the ACRS, 15 per cent of the state’s road users are under the age of 25, but they are responsible for 25 per cent of all car accidents in NSW.
Professor Williams added that the ACRS has tried to help young drivers identify hazards on the road, but its unsuccessful campaign suggests a more thorough driving test may be needed.
‘If your brain isn’t ready to adapt to the risks on the road, maybe we’re limiting all sorts of things about young drivers,’ Professor Williamson said 3AWs Tom Eliot. “Maybe we license (young drivers) too soon.
“That’s one of the options we should think about, but unfortunately we still have problems with young novice drivers.
“Current research suggests that young people’s brains are not mature enough until around the age of 24 to appreciate and understand risk and then adjust their behavior according to the risk.
“The research we did tried to educate young drivers a little more about risk to see if you could train them. Unfortunately we weren’t very successful.
“We still need to push harder to see if there are things we can teach young novice drivers to appreciate more, but if that doesn’t work then we need to start thinking about some of the other options.”
“We already have a hazard perception test for young drivers, but there may be a better way to do it. We need to investigate risky behavior and make sure we don’t give licenses to people who don’t really understand the risks of driving.”
As reported by The Sydney Morning Herald Five teenagers were injured in an accident involving a car – caused by the 18-year-old driver’s collision with a telephone pole – in Beverly Hills, a Sydney suburb, on Friday morning.
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