The New South Wales Government has found another way to make more money and make it more difficult for young adults. As of the 11th of July, 2005 provisional 1 and 2 licence drivers will be prohibited from driving certain vehicles, as an attempt to decrease the number of road accidents among younger drivers. This includes:
- eight or more cylinders.
- a turbocharged engine (diesel exempt).
- a supercharged engine (diesel exempt).
- engine performance modifications.
- high-performance six cylinder engines.
Ok, so this may not affect some people, but what about the people that actually do require the use of a prohibited vehicle, their family car is a prohibited vehicle, or they are already the owner of a prohibited vehicle. The first two issues have been passed off by saying that drivers can get an exemption.
Exemptions may be granted if more powerful vehicles are required for genuine employment purposes (statutory declaration to be provided by an employer), or if eight cylinder 4WD vehicles are required by country drivers who have no practical alternative. An exemption may also be granted if a low performance turbocharged engine vehicle is the principal family vehicle (ie registered to a parent).
However, did I mention that you have to pay a fee? That’s right, you have to pay a fee to be exempted. Also, what about the V8+ family vehicles and those that already own prohibited vehicles? They are going to be left with cars that they can no longer use because
You cannot drive a prohibited vehicle unless you are exempted and owning a prohibited vehicle does not make you exempt.
What is the point in all this? Surely it can’t be to reduce the number of deaths caused by road accidents. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that between 1970 – 2003 there has been a reduction in the number of accidents on the road. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau also reports that in NSW alone there as has been a decline in the number of fatalities due to road accidents between 1989 and 2004. They also report that drivers between the age of 17-20 in 2003 and 2004 were involved in fewer accidents than drivers between 40-59, 26-39 and 60+ years, in that order.
So why are these vehicles being prohibited to provisional drivers (most being between 17 and 21 years of age) and no actions being taken to reduce the number of deaths in older drivers? What, now instead of crashing at 300 km/h they are going to hit it at 180? It’s still going to hurt. Plus when you tell someone not to do something they will generally do it, therefore I am going to go out on a limb here and predict that we are going to see an increase in the number of police chases, due to p platers driving prohibited vehicles, and thus a possible increase in the number of fatalities in younger drivers.
Quotes from the Roads and Traffic Authority, “Notice of changes to Provisional Licence Conditions” letter. Also available on their website.