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Young drivers at risk

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1 Sept 1988



Although young people aged between 17 and 25 only make up 15 per cent of the population, they represent more than one third - 36 per cent - of road deaths, the Federal Minister for Transport and Communications Support, Peter Morris said today.

Mr Morris was releasing the August edition of Road Crash Statistics Australia, which is published each month by the Federal Office of Road Safety.

"Recently five young Australians lost their lives in a vehicle crash near Culcairn, in New South Wales, Although the overall number of deaths and injuries are decreasing, the proportion of young people in the 17 to 25 age group killed or injured remains unchanged," Mr Morris said.

"New drivers are being taught how to get licences, but not necessarily how to drive safely.

"A national workshop on driver training and licensing conducted by the Federal Office of Road Safety in 1986 agreed that a greater emphasis was needed on attitudes, and decision making

Mr Morris called on state and territory governments to give higher priority to the introduction of graduated licensing, a concept supported by them in 1984. Most states and territories are introducing some elements of graduated licensing.

"Graduated licensing extends the supervision period from what is currently a few weeks to 12 to 18 months for young novice drivers and places restrictions on, for example, a zero blood alcohol limit for two years and no carrying of passengers of the

same age group, unless accompanied by an experienced adult driver," Mr Morris said.


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"This contributes significantly to the development of attitudes and skills, which only experience can bring.

"Most importantly, graduated or staged licensing breaks the link for the young drivers between learning to drink and learning to drive at about the same time.

"It also removes the peer group pressure on young drivers before they gain road experience.

"Such licensing schemes have the potential to save lives. Everyone from governments, to parents, motoring organisations, educational institutions, and community groups have a role to play.

"The Federal Government knows that young drivers must take a good hard look at how they behave behind the wheel. The Federal Office of Road Safety has produced videos, Road Worrier and Big Gig which challenge the views held by young drivers about their driving behaviour."

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For further information contact Bill George (062) 68 7758

Editors note: The Federal Office of Road Safety supplies free of charge videos Road Worrier and Big Gig which are targeted on the attitude and behaviour of young drivers.