Update on graduated licencing scheme reforms

Released 17/10/2018

The ACT Government has now progressed to the final stage of proposed reforms to the ACT’s graduated licencing scheme.

Minister for Road Safety Shane Rattenbury said the new scheme has been shaped with the help of important community and industry feedback, while maintaining a key focus on the safety of young drivers.

“Ensuring the safety of drivers and other road users is a top priority for the ACT Government. We are committed to achieving Vision Zero, and realising the goal of zero deaths and serious injuries on ACT roads,” Minister Rattenbury said.

“Our aim here is to strengthen road safety protections for our new and inexperienced drivers.

“This is part of an ongoing conversation with the community, while making sure that we’re both listening to the experts and realising practical road safety measures for, and together with, the Canberra community.”

Young drivers are overrepresented in ACT road crash statistics:

  • Between 2006 and 2015, 15 young drivers (aged 17-24) were killed while driving on ACT roads with five of those driver deaths between midnight and 5am.
  • In the same period, cars driven by young drivers (aged 17-24) killed 23 other drivers, cyclists, passengers or pedestrians, with 10 of those deaths between midnights and 5am.
  • In the period 2011 to 2015, P drivers represented 6.5% of all car licence holders but accounted for 14.6% of drivers involved in fatal accidents.
  • Last year, the ACT experienced five fatalities on our roads.  Three of those were provisional licence holders aged under 25 years, including one motorcyclist. That is, 60% of our road toll in 2017 were young people.

Initial stage of consultation: extensive community and stakeholder feedback

In April, the Government sought the community’s feedback on a range of proposed reforms, including:

  • A scheme with two provisional licencing stages: (‘red P1’ and ‘green P2’), in line with NSW, where driving restrictions are gradually lifted as drivers gain more experience and capability behind the wheel
  • That P1 drivers be limited to one passenger aged between 16 and 24 in the car;
  • That mobile phones be banned, including hands-free, for L, P1 and P2 drivers.

In this initial phase of consultation, the Government received more than 4,300 responses to its online survey. More than 16,200 people visited and interacted with this issue via YourSay.

Second stage of consultation: a ‘final check in’ from community before reforms realised

“The Canberra community has demonstrated a keen interest in how we can support younger drivers to gain experience on our roads, and become competent, confident and ultimately safer behind the wheel,” Minister Rattenbury said.

“We have since reviewed this feedback, in consultation with road safety experts, to pursue a series of revised reforms. This second stage sees significant progress, ensuring that proposed changes will be practically implemented in the Territory.”

Proposed revised reforms now include:

  • Provisional licencing stages, in line with NSW (no changes to initial proposal);
  • That P1 drivers be restricted to carrying one peer-aged passenger (16-22 years) between the hours of 11pm and 5am, as is the approach in NSW, with automatic exemptions in place for family members and/or for employment purposes;
  • That mobile phones can’t be used except for voice activated GPS applications, while in do-not-disturb mode.

No changes have been proposed in relation to speed limits or use of high-powered vehicles.

After making this final check in with the community, it is intended that these changes will come into effect in due course. Further updates will be provided to the community as implementation dates are finalised.

Changes will apply to all new learner drivers once implementation is finalised.

Further information in relation to the comprehensive package of proposed changes is outlined in the consultation paper attached.

Community members are encouraged to have your say on the proposed changes at the ACT Government’s YourSay portal, expected to ‘go live’ this afternoon. Community consultation will close on 14 November 2018.

Photos, audio and visual footage from road safety stakeholders will be made available on request.

- Statement ends -

Section: Shane Rattenbury, MLA | Media Releases

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