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by Matt Brogan

The Victorian State Government has introduced passenger restrictions on first year P-plate drivers in an attempt to curb the growing representation of this group in road toll statistics.

Coming in to effect on July 1, the new laws are among several recommendations for all road users which will be progressively introduced over the course of the year.

P-plate drivers in their first year of driving will now be prevented from carrying more than one passenger aged 16 to 21, unless there are exceptional circumstances. Unlike other states, this restriction will apply 24 hours a day.

VicRoads will have the ability to waive the passenger restrictions if young drivers are using their car for essential activities, such as travelling to TAFE, uni or work.

Special exemptions will also apply on family grounds though full details of these exemptions are as yet unknown (as are any penalties for breaking the restriction).

Other plans in the pipeline which will apply to all drivers include:

– Extending 40km/h zones in local school and shopping zones
– Cancelling the license of drink drivers with BAC levels in excess of 0.1 per cent immediately with no court trial
– Mandatory fitment of electronic stability control to all cars by 2011 and side curtain airbags by 2012
– Demerit points redemption by means of road safety course
– An additional $50 million  allocation for road upgrades

Premier John Brumby has said of the changes that “Every family touched by tragedy on our roads is one family too many, so we must always strive for new and innovative ways to reduce the road toll”.

Motoring bodies including the RACV have welcomed the move.

What do you think? Will it work or could the money have been better spent on driver education? Let us know.




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