Hon Rob Johnson JP MLA

Hon Rob Johnson JP MLA

Former Minister for Police; Road Safety

    New safety measures for novice drivers

    21/04/2012 12:00 AM
    • Restrictions on passengers and phone use to save young lives
    • No evidence to support ban on high performance cars
    A ban on mobile phone use and passenger restrictions will be introduced for novice drivers as part of a new safety package designed to reduce the incidence of young people being killed or seriously injured on Western Australian roads.

    The changes have been endorsed by the Road Safety Council (RSC), which also recommended against introducing power to weight ratio restrictions for young drivers in WA as it would have little, if any, road safety benefits.

    Road Safety Minister Rob Johnson said the State Government had accepted the RSC’s advice, which was based on a two-year independent study by the Curtin-Monash Accident Research Centre in collaboration with the Centre for Automotive Safety Research of the University of Adelaide.

    Mr Johnson said the Government had committed to thoroughly investigate the merits of power to weight ratio restrictions, but based on the evidence and advice that had been presented to him, such a move was unjustifiable.

    “The research found that only 0.2 per cent of all serious injury crashes involved a driver aged between 17-19 years in a high performance vehicle,” he said.

    The Minister said based on recommendations from the council, the Government would introduce other evidence-based measures to improve novice driver safety, such as:
    • Peer passenger restrictions for novice drivers:  In the first six months of provisional driving, novice drivers under the age of 25 can only carry one passenger under the age of 21 between 9pm and 5am.  Novice drivers are 30 per cent more likely to crash in the first six months of provisional driving than in the second six months.  Research also indicates that a young driver’s crash risk increases as the number of similarly aged passengers increases
    • Ban on mobile phone use by novice drivers:  Under current laws, all drivers are prohibited from using a hand-held mobile phone while driving and can only make or receive a call when it is hands-free.  Under the changes, novice drivers will be banned from using any function of a mobile phone, including hands-free, in all situations during the learner phase and the full two-year provisional period 
    • Restrictions on Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) for instructors of learner drivers:  There is currently no BAC limit or illicit drug limit imposed on instructors of learner drivers.  Under the changes, there will be a 0.05 BAC for instructors, as well as a zero limit for illicit drugs.
          Fact File
    • The restrictions on mobile phones and passengers brings WA into line with other Australian jurisdictions, which have seen significant reductions in serious crashes involving young drivers after introducing the measures
    • The Government recently announced an increase in the number of mandated supervised driving hours for learner drivers from 25 hours to 50 hours
    • A graduated demerit point system has been implemented in WA to restrict the number of demerit points available to learner and P-plate drivers 
    • In the first six months of provisional driving, novice drivers are prohibited from driving between midnight and 5am (exemptions apply)
    Minister's office - 6552 5900