Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 22 August 2018) . . Page.. 3408 ..
learner system, as has also been proposed by the minister. In the minister’s own consultation process, 50 per cent of people either disagreed or strongly disagreed with the new curfew policy.
What also raises serious concern is the proposed restrictions on driving with friends if you have your P plates. Under Mr Rattenbury’s proposal you will not be permitted to drive at any time of the day with more than one peer-age passenger between the ages of 16 and 24 when you are on your P1 licence. While New South Wales does have passenger restrictions for provisional licence holders their restrictions only apply during certain hours. Not only is the minister’s proposal more restrictive than that in any other jurisdiction in Australia, it raises any number of concerns including for those who choose to carpool and for those who wish to nominate designated drivers.
Having a culture that promotes designated driving is widely recognised as being fundamental in combatting drink driving. By making it extremely difficult for designated drivers to do their friends a favour on a night out, you are inevitably encouraging young people to take risks, you are making nights out unsafe, you are making transport more difficult and you are making our roads more dangerous. The blanket ban for all times of the day is ludicrous, from a party who claims to want to encourage fewer cars on our roads, and you would think that Mr Rattenbury would be trying to encourage more young people to car pool.
I also note the amendment to be moved by Mr Rattenbury in which he is calling on the government to consider implementing evidence-based road safety improvements for young drivers, which brings me to my next point. The fact of the matter is that the evidence simply does not support the introduction of a P-plater curfew.
The ACT continues to report the lowest road fatalities, as a percentage, in the country—a number which continues to fall. Of fatal crashes in the ACT in 2016, only 7.14 per cent were provisional drivers. This compares to 12 per cent in New South Wales and 19 per cent in Victoria. This is despite Canberra having the most relaxed P-plate laws in the country. Only two per cent of all accidents occur between the hours of 12 am and 5 am, and 80 per cent of fatal accidents occur outside those times.
The minister’s discussion paper also states that a blanket curfew for P1 drivers in the evening would result in a 44 per cent reduction of 17-year-olds in fatal crashes at night. However, following this logic, the Assembly should note that if we banned all cars at all times we would have an expected 100 per cent reduction in road fatalities.
The point to be made here is that there is a very clear element of compromise that is necessary to deliver a responsible licensing scheme in the ACT and to ensure the safety of drivers on our roads. And the minister no doubt agrees with this because, in his discussion paper, the recommendation is to permit one other peer-age passenger in the car rather than a total passenger ban. This is despite an expected 21 per cent reduction in fatal crashes if there were a total passenger ban.
I would also like to note that of all the demographic groups one of the groups most disproportionately over-represented in accident statistics is those who are over 80. A study, just out in New South Wales only last week, also shows that middle-aged men