The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, representing the Minister for Transport, a question regarding young drivers.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: In September 2003, the government released a road safety strategy with three main aims: safer roads, safer people and safer vehicles. The safer people strategy is intended to target speeding, alcohol and drugs, fatigue, restraints, at risk groups and pedestrians and cyclists. In today’s Advertiser, an article entitled ‘Death Wish: Shock findings on young drivers’ reveals that 20 per cent of young people are driving whilst under the influence of illegal drugs. However, the horrifying results do not end there. In the latest young drivers’ index by AAMI it has been revealed that drivers under the age of 25 regularly break the speed limit, drink and drive, and take unnecessarily risks on the road. My questions are:
1. How does the government plan to reduce drug driving which has clearly become a menacing problem on our roads?
2. When will the government get serious about lowering the needless fatalities on the roads by addressing the problem of driver behaviour?
3. Will the government consider early intervention strategies such as compulsory driver education in schools to address the issue of driver behaviour before young people reach the driving age and put into practice these dangerous behaviours?
4. Has the minister met with vehicle insurers, or other groups, to discuss measures to address the problem of young driver behaviour and, if so, what strategies have been developed?
5. When will the government honour the commitment made in its road safety strategy of safer roads, safer people and safer vehicles?
The Hon. T.G. ROBERTS (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation): I will refer those questions to the Minister for Transport in another place and bring back a reply.
(Monday 23 May 2005)
In reply to Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (25 November 2003).
The Hon. P. Holloway, on behalf of Hon. T.G. ROBERTS: The Minister for Transport has provided the following information.
1. The reported incidence of illicit drug use by drivers is of great concern to the Government.
The Road Safety Advisory Council (RSAC), established in 2002 by the Government, has formed an Alcohol and Drugs Task Force to examine this issue. In particular, developments in Victoria, where the first random roadside drug testing program in Australia is expected to begin operation this year, will be closely monitored.
The RSAC has forwarded recommendations to the Government, aimed at improving South Australia's road safety performance, one of which recommended amending the Road Traffic Act to provide for testing for drugs. A draft Bill has been circulated, for consultation.
2. Legislation for major enhancements to the learner and provisional licence requirements in South Australia has been passed by the House of Assembly and entered debate in the Legislative Council on 3 March 2005.
The Rann Government will adopt a carrot and stick' approach for novice drivers, penalising the small number of irresponsible learners who choose to do the wrong thing and providing incentives to behave responsibly on our roads.
Key features of the Government's proposed legislation expected to come into effect from July 2005, are:
A minimum of 50 hours of supervised driving in the learners phase (including ten hours of night driving) A requirement that the supervising driver (in the L phase) must have held a licence for a minimum of two years and have not been disqualified in the previous two years A two stage provisional (P1 and P2) with conditions that vary to reflect the development of competencies and driving skills by the novice driver. This will include a mandatory computer based hazard perception test (HPT) which must be passed before moving from P1 to P2.
The incentive on not having to display a plate in the P2 phase.
New sanctions for provisional licence holders who breach the conditions of their licence, specifically, for extreme cases, curfews
From July 2006, further measures to be introduced would include:
Further sanctions for provisional licence holders who breach the conditions of their licence, specifically regression to a former licence stage and re-taking of tests for those novice drivers who lose their licence
A computer based theory testing for applicants for the Learner's Permit
These sanctions are aimed at strengthening the educative and supervisory influences for novice drivers. Considerable positive benefits for the community, in terms of significant reductions in serious injury and fatality crashes, particularly among young people, will directly and indirectly result from these measures.
3. The Road Safety Advisory Council has established an Education and Training Programs Sub-Committee convened by a senior officer of the Department of Education and Children's Services, to investigate and provide specific advice on this matter.
When this advice is received, the Government will develop and implement appropriate strategies to ensure young drivers are guided to use appropriate driver behaviour when they become drivers.
4. The Road Safety Advisory Council has established task forces to examine the Graduated Licensing Scheme, speed management, alcohol and drugs, and media promotion and advertising – all of which are related to young drivers.
The variety of organisations represented on the task forces provide a level of expertise best suited to advise the Government on how to address the problem of young driver behaviour on the State's roads.
The Government will receive this advice and will develop specific initiatives to respond to any recommendations, as has occurred in the recent announcement regarding enhancements to the learner and provisional licence requirements in South Australia.
5. Clearly the Government is already honouring its stated commitment and has made considerable progress with the introduction of a wide range of initiatives since gaining Office. Investments into projects wholly or overwhelmingly associated with road safety have increased from $15.0 million in the last year of the previous Government to an average of $27.3 million in each of the three Budgets of this Government. Initiatives in the overall safety program include:
Creation of the State's first Black Spot program.
Doubling of the previous Government's expenditure on shoulder sealing, statistically the most effective road safety investing intervention.
The range of major road safety reforms that have been passed by the Parliament in 2003 and have now been implemented The new legislative reforms that are or will shortly be in the Parliamentary process, including drink driving enhancements, loss of licence for excessive speed, changes to the novice driver scheme and drug testing drivers/riders.
The establishment of the Community Road Safety Fund with all monies from offences detected by the use of anti-speeding devices now to be used to improve road safety.
The establishment of a Road Safety Ministerial Council and a Road Safety Advisory Council, to provide clear accountability and more comprehensive policy responses.
Release of the South Australian Road Safety Strategy 2003 –2010 focusing on meeting the national road safety target for 2010 as committed to in the State Strategic Plan.