Congestion on Australia roads is an ever increasing problem. With rises in population numbers and more people being able to afford running a car than ever before, it is not surprising that the roads are becoming busier. But busier roads do not just mean longer journey times; they also tend to result in higher accidents rates. The government has attempted to tackle this problem through a series of nationwide advertising campaigns and by placing awareness signs along the roads. However these methods may not be getting through to everyone with many drivers still driving unsafely and causing accidents.
Those drivers who are more likely to be involved in road traffic accidents are those with limited experience – typically younger drivers. Statistics show that one in five drivers is involved in car accidents within six months of passing their test. To try and reduce these figures Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly, announced last May that a number of new measures were going to be trilled. Initially thoughts were around raising the legal age limit for driving from 17 to 18, or introducing a ‘graduated licensing’ scheme, which would place restrictions on new drivers. However none of these ideas have come to fruition; instead a new driving course by driving instructors is to be introduced to 14-16 years, which will heavily emphasize the importance of safe driving.
The course will first be rolled out around the beginning of 2009, in certain geographical areas, in order to assess is success. It will begin by teaching young drivers about the basics and how to carry them out safety. It will then progress to more advanced driving techniques such as being able to predict the intentions of other drivers on the roads. Whilst the driving test with and the theory test have both undergone big changes over the last ten years and now incorporate further tests to ensure the suitability of new drivers, the accident rates are still high for this demographic.
Introducing this course will give learners more time over which they can practice and perfect their driving skills prior to taking their test. In addition further courses are due to be introduced for those who have passed their test but wish to develop their skills further. It is hoped that these tests will be recognized by other bodies and result in some good young driver insurance deals for those who have passed.