Proposed changes to Graduated Licensing Scheme aim to save young lives

26 March 2013

Proposed changes to the Graduated Licensing Scheme (GLS), which aim to protect young drivers and passengers, will be introduced into Parliament later this year once new legislation is drafted.

Road Safety Minister Michael O’Brien said the proposed changes include night-time driving and passenger restrictions for P1 drivers with exemptions for employment purposes, if passengers are immediate family members or if the driver is aged over 25.

“Young people make up five per cent of our population, but account for 12 per cent of fatalities and serious injuries on our roads,” Mr O’Brien said.

“These initiatives, which were shaped by extensive consultation and feedback from the community, are about saving more young lives.”

The changes that will be introduced into Parliament include:

  • Passenger restrictions for P1 drivers, allowing no more than one passenger aged 16 to
  • 20 years (immediate family members are exempt) for the duration of their P1 licence.

Carrying two to three peer passengers under the age of 21 who are not family members increases the risk of a young driver crashing by four to five times compared to driving alone.

  • A night-time driving restriction for P1 drivers between midnight and 5am for the duration of their P1 licence (with an exemption system).
Young drivers are up to seven times more likely to crash when driving late at night.
  • Extending the total minimum provisional licence period from two to three years.
  • Removing regression to a previous licence stage following a disqualification period.

  • The passenger and night-driving restrictions will not apply if the driver is aged over 25 or if a Qualified Supervising Driver (QSD) is a passenger in the vehicle. A QSD is a driver who has held a full driver’s licence for at least two years continuously without disqualification.

Exemptions will also be available for employment purposes, for police members driving on duty and emergency services members, both paid and volunteer, driving an emergency vehicle on duty.

Mr O’Brien said research shows that young drivers are at greatest risk of a crash in their first year of driving unsupervised.

“The passenger and night-driving restrictions are aimed at reducing this risk, and will therefore only apply for the first year of solo driving,” Mr O’Brien said.

Mr O’Brien said the measures work to bring South Australia in line with other states.

“Statistics show that South Australia has the second worst fatality rate for the 16 to 19-year-old age group of all Australian states and territories, and almost double that of Victoria and New South Wales,” Mr O’Brien said.

Director of the Centre for Automotive Safety Research at the University of Adelaide Professor Mary Lydon said research shows if passenger restrictions were introduced there would be an estimated saving of 12-17 fatal and serious injuries per year.

“For a night driving restriction there would be an estimated saving of 8-12 fatal and serious injuries per year,” Prof Lydon said.

Mr O’Brien said 1079 submissions were received from the community and road safety stakeholders, which helped shape the proposed initiatives.

“These changes have the support of key stakeholders including the health sector, emergency services and the RAA,” he said.

“Due to strong community feedback, there is no move to increase the minimum driving age to 18. However, it is important to recognise that delaying the age of obtaining a provisional licence has significant safety benefits, and I ask young drivers and their parents/caregivers to consider this.”

A Bill will be introduced into Parliament later this year once legislation is drafted.

For more information on the proposed changes visit: 

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