Passenger and night restrictions will be imposed on young drivers under changes to provisional licence laws in South Australia.
The changes have passed State Parliament and will take effect next year.
Young P1 licence holders will be banned from driving between midnight and 5am unless granted an exemption.
P1 drivers under 25 will be allowed to transport only one passenger aged between 16 and 20, excluding immediate family.
The minimum provisional licence period will be increased from two years to three.
Drivers will need to carry any exemption letter issued by their employer, volunteer or religious organisations, education institutions or sports associations, or other supporting evidence, to show police if they are pulled over.
Road Safety Minister Michael O’Brien said new drivers had been shown to be at the greatest risk on the roads.
“These initiatives are not about removing the freedom that comes with having a licence but rather ensuring young drivers have the best start,” he said.
“Young drivers are at greatest risk of a crash in their first year of driving unsupervised, and SA has the second-worst fatality rate for the 16- to 19-year-old age group of all Australian states and territories.
“If these changes had been in place over the past five years, they had the potential to prevent 22 deaths, 240 serious injuries and 1,397 minor injuries.”
Motoring organisation the RAA says changes will need to be made clear before they are enforced.
Road safety manager Charles Mountain says some young licence holders will need exemptions to let them work or attend sporting commitments.
“For most people it won’t be too difficult. It’s likely to save potentially crashes and possibly fatalities during this period when people are inexperienced, so I think overall it’s potentially a good outcome,” he said.
“I think it’s also important that this will only apply to P1 drivers. Once they move on to their P2s, these restrictions on the curfew and the number of peer passengers are lifted.”
Key changes from later in 2014
- A passenger restriction for P1 drivers under 25, allowing no more than one passenger aged 16 to 20 for the duration of holding a P1 licence, excluding immediate family members (with an exemption system)
- A restriction on driving between midnight and 5am for P1 drivers under 25 for the duration of their P1 licence (with an exemption system)
- Extending the total minimum provisional licence period from two to three years will mean one year on a P1 licence and two years on a P2 licence
- Removing regression to a previous licence stage following a disqualification period
- The hazard perception test (on a computer) will be a requirement of graduation from learner’s to P1, rather than P1 to P2.
Under the exemption system:
- P1 drivers will be exempt from the passenger restrictions if they are required to carry multiple peer passengers during the course of their employment
- P1 drivers will be exempt from the night-time driving restriction if they need to drive for employment, formal volunteer work, education, training or sporting purposes.
– Information from SA Government