ACT Labor backbencher hits out at P-plater curfew

ACT Labor backbencher hits out at P-plater curfew


A Labor backbencher has said a proposed curfew on P-plate drivers in Canberra would make young people "second class citizens".

Murrumbidgee MLA Chris Steel said the proposed midnight to 5.00am curfew would discriminate against young people and their movements around Canberra.

The proposed changes included moving to a two tier, P1 and P2 system, where P1 drivers would only be allowed to carry one passenger aged 16 - 24 years and be under curfew.

Learner drivers would be required to log at least 100 hours of supervised driving, including 10 at night, and wait until they are 17 years old before applying for their P1 license.


They would drive under a P1 'red plate' license for one year before moving to a P2 'green plate' license and the government would scrap the ability for P-platers to earn extra points by taking an extra test.

Canberra learners don't need to log supervised hours before applying for the provisional license, with ACT P-platers having some of the most relaxed laws in the country.

"I think ensuring learners have more supervised driving before they get their P-platers is a better approach than curfews," Mr Steel said.

Mr Steel has pointed to the 'Your Plates: What we heard report' which indicated 50 per cent of respondents to an online government survey disagreed or strong disagreed with the proposed curfew.

"We know that it is only small minority of people that doing the wrong thing, but all young drivers would be treated as second class citizens by a P-plate curfew," Mr Steel said.

The government also proposed exemptions to the curfew for people needing to travel to work or school in the early hours, but Mr Steel said this would be costly, bureaucratic and confusing for other drivers and police.

The majority of the respondents to the proposals, 56.5 per cent, were aged between 16 to 25 years old.

The survey showed about 85 per cent strongly agreed or agreed with a total ban on mobile phones for learners and P-platers, including hands-free.

It also showed about 67 per cent strongly agreed or agreed with restricting P1 drivers to be allowed only one passenger aged 16 to 24 years old.

Roads minister Green MLA Shane Rattenbury was contacted for comment and was expected to address media on Friday afternoon.

The government indicated they received about 50 submissions to the proposals but were unable to release them due to privacy reasons.

Between 2006 and 2017, 15 drivers aged 17 to 24 years old were killed on ACT roads. Young drivers killed 23 other drivers, passengers, cyclists or pedestrians between that same period, with 10 of those deaths between the proposed curfew times of midnight to 5.00am.

Finbar O'Mallon is a reporter for The Canberra Times

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