The New South Wales state government will follow the lead of Victoria in adopting new laws surrounding what cars P-platers can drive.
Until now, NSW P-platers were banned from driving supercharged or turbocharged cars as a blanket rule. However, NSW Minister for Roads and Freight, Duncan Gay, has announced plans to "redefine high performance vehicles to reflect the reality of today's cars" by August 1, 2014.
Victorian P-platers will be allowed behind the wheel of some V8s and turbocharged and supercharged vehicles when restrictions are lifted on July 1. As is the case with Victoria, the new rules for NSW will make cars with power-to-weight ratios of 130kW or less per tonne acceptable for P-platers, while those with more power per tonne will remain outlawed.
Gay said this will enable P-platers to drive a broader range of cars that will "help make life easier for families and young drivers", and that "super charged no longer just means super speed".
To put the rules into context, a 2007 Subaru Impreza WRX producing 169kW and weighing 1395 kilograms would be acceptable under the scheme, as its power-to-weight ratio is 123kW/tonne. A new Subaru WRX manual, on the other hand, would be banned, as it's power-to-weight ratio is too high at 134kW/tonne - it produces 197kW and weighs 1469kg. Theoretically, the WRX CVT auto - which has a ratio of 129kW/tonne thanks to its heavier 1527kg kerb weight - should be approved under the scheme.
That said, Gay has confirmed that as many as 7500 cars will remain off limits to P-platers under a broad-spanning, co-operative approach to reach some form of unity for younger licence holders across the states.
“I asked our safety experts to work with other states and territories, the Federal Government and the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries to re-evaluate the list of banned cars to recognise changes to technology and provide a more uniform approach across the country,” Gay said.
“The previous blanket ban on P-platers driving supercharged or turbocharged vehicles was put in place when the features on these cars were only used to enhance speed and acceleration.
“These days, for many vehicles in this category it is about fuel efficiency not speed and acceleration, so it was appropriate we revisit the ban in light of the fact many of these vehicles are low performance with modern, effective safety features," Gay said.
“For families with a car which may have been previously off limits to young drivers, these reforms mean P-platers no longer need to carry an exemption when driving the family vehicle.