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Update 9/01/2007 : A more detailed description of the new laws is available here
Queensland is set to introduce new rules for new drivers, including night curfews, passenger restrictions and the banning of high-powered cars in 2007. Part of the new rules includes a huge 100 hours of supervised learner driving will be enforced before taking the drivers test while Queensland Transport said that talking on hands-free mobiles while at the wheel will be illegal for many young Queenslanders from July 1, when the tough new reforms are introduced! Even with a hands-free! How completely stupid.

Queensland is also set to finally introduce P-plates to go along NSW and VIC, also learner licence period is set to double to 12 months in what is set to become the nation’s most rigid licensing system. The legislation will apply to provisional and learner drivers under 25. New drivers over that age will also be subjected to some of the new requirements.

The main changes to the system coming into effect in July 2007 are:

  • lowering the minimum learner age to 16 and extending the licence period to 12 months
  • gaining 100 hours of certified supervised on-road driving experience for learners under 25s
  • restricting all mobile phone use, including hands-free, blue-tooth accessories, and loud-speaker functions, for learner and P1 provisional licence holders under 25
  • restricting mobile loud-speaker functions for supervisors and passengers of learner and P1 provisional licence holders under 25 while under instruction
  • motorbike learners will be required to hold a car provisional licence for 12 months prior to gaining a motorbike learner licence
  • introduction of a two-phased P1 and P2 provisional licence system
  • compulsory L plates (a black L on a yellow background) and P plates (a red plate for P1 and green plate for P2)
  • peer passenger restrictions (only carrying one passenger aged under 21) from 11pm to 5am for P1 under 25
  • high-powered vehicle restrictions for provisional drivers under 25
  • after 12 months on P1, licence holders must pass a hazard perception test to progress to P2
  • late night driving and other restrictions for disqualified and suspended young drivers

Queensland transport says that too many young people are dying on Queensland roads, with 17-24 year olds one of the most at-risk groups. In 2005 just 13 per cent of our drivers were young people, and yet 32 per cent of our road toll 106 fatalities came as a result of young driver crashes. This statistic is being used by QLD Transport to push down these new and extreme laws.
Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Paul Lucas said opposition to the “tough new line” was expected.

We realise some of these changes won’t please everyone, particularly young people, but their lives are at stake and we have had to make hard decisions,” Mr Lucas said.

State driver groups, including the RACQ and MTAQ, had been instrumental in shaping the reforms, he said. Queensland Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg said some of the new licensing measures were over the top.

In a decentralised state such as Queensland, several of the rules will be extremely difficult to enforce and will be open to abuse,” Mr Springborg said.

What’s more, the reforms discriminate against new drivers under 25 by being fairly lenient on new drivers over that age. Confidence on the roads comes down to driving experience, not age.

RACQ spokesman Gary Fites said restricting the use of high-powered vehicles would be hard to monitor.

It was the only one of the new measures that we (the RACQ) weren’t so sure about,” Mr Frites said.

I am located in Queensland and although these rules don’t apply to me I have to say, honestly, the more rules and regulations that are put in place to limit Young Drivers from driving, the worse things will get. I would like to see the police enforcing the high-powered cars rule. For a start, who will classify what cars as high powered? What will constitute a high powered car? Will it be a blanket No V8s, no Turbocharger, no Supercharger approach? Would that mean kids can’t drive their parents Nissan Patrol? Or take the landcruiser for a spin? What about dad’s V8 commodore? How will that work?

I would like RACQ to tell me if one single person under 25 was even consulted for these changes, 12 month learners period is simply just stupid. The longer the period the more chance of learner drivers on the road without a license. 12 months is just enormous! If you are getting your learners you are keen to get your drivers license and whilst I agree that not everyone with a drivers license knows how to drive, I can’t imagine why RACQ and QLD transport are only targeting young drivers!

There are plenty of older drivers who are more of a menace than young drivers, why not introduce:

  • compulsory defensive driving courses
  • compulsory safety courses
  • change the driving test so its more set for the real world as oppose to following a few basic rules

Why is that the driving courses still require drivers to do a parallel park when they never teach you what todo if your aquaplaning the car of it you’ve lost control in the wet, or how to deal with a car with ABS etc etc? Why does the QLD government always take the easy way out of trying to fix the road toll problem. Its not a two step process of putting more speed cameras and tougher laws. There needs to be more education for younger drivers and less restrictions. Many young Drivers will always want to speed, so why not give the chance to do just that in a safe environment?
Furthermore, 100 hours of supervised learning before taking the test? Are they serious? Who can afford that! What if the young driver going for his or her test doesn’t have their parents car to practise on? Are they going to pay $40/hr for 100 hours to get that log book filled up? Thats $4,000!

What about the complete lack of attention to older drivers who are also a menace on the road? Why isn’t there new regulation to require a special 4WD license for people to drive big 4WDs in the city? There needs to be understanding by the Government and RACQ (whom I have now lost all utter respect for) to realize that young drivers are not the source of the problem. Sure they might have a higher accident rate, but thats mainly due to lack of experience and 100 hours of paid lessons is simply over the top, instead of the 100 hours they need to make the driving test much harder, and include real world situations in a proper testing environment on a track so they can take the car out of control. If they want safety, this isn’t the solution.




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