Free licences for safe young drivers

26 March 2018

The NRMA has today released a report that recommends rewarding young drivers who maintain a clean probationary driving record with a free licence and a trial of connected technology to assess and reward young driver behaviour.

The NRMA report, Come Home Safe, is part of the Road Safety Series and recommends a free licence for drivers who maintain a clean driving record through their P1 and P2 licence period. The recommendation would deliver a much-needed saving of up to $180 off the cost of a five-year licence.

The report also proposes trialling connected technology to assess the driving behaviour of young drivers. Consideration could be given to providing rewards to young drivers who consistently demonstrate good driver behaviour.

The trial must also ensure all data is protected and used specifically and only for the purpose of determining potential safety benefits from the technology.

Come Home Safe highlights that young drivers aged 17 to 25 are still over-represented in deaths and serious injuries. Crashes involving P-plate drivers make up 15 per cent of all fatalities on NSW roads, yet provisional drivers account for only eight per cent of all driver licence holders. The report highlighted young drivers are most at risk in the six months after they obtain their provisional licence.

NRMA Chairperson Tim Trumper said as the road toll in NSW continued to rise the NRMA wanted the NSW Government to look toward innovative incentive approaches to help keep young drivers safe.

“The incentives outlined by the NRMA today may help save lives,” Mr Trumper said.

“Much of the NSW Road Safety Plan 2021 rightly focuses on strong enforcement of laws that aim to stop reckless behaviour that lead to deaths on our roads. The NRMA believes this should be complimented with encouragement and rewarding young people who do the right thing by adopting a proposal already introduced in a number of states and territories across Australia.

“There are new innovative technology options that could provide a step change in road safety and keep young drivers safe.

“Offering incentives to young drivers to purchase a five-star rated safe car will deliver safety benefits to the community – we know that a driver of the worst vehicle rated under the Used Car Safety Rating scheme is 10 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured than a driver in the safest vehicle.

The NRMA also wants the Government to review the Graduated Licensing Scheme (GLS) program to ensure they are delivering positive safety outcomes – and make the results public.

Mr Trumper said states such as Queensland and Victoria had evaluated their Graduated Licencing Scheme effectiveness and found evidence-based reductions in fatal crashes and serious injuries on their roads.

“Given that it has been almost 20 years since the scheme was introduced in NSW, the NRMA believes it’s time for an independent evaluation.”

The report also includes increased funding for education and mentoring programs to build knowledge around driving skills.