The P-Plater and Learner Program Reform sign now

Honoured Members of Parliament and the Opposition,

By this time I'm sure most of you would have heard of the tragedy that occurred on Reid Highway on Saturday night, which claimed four lives and is threatening to claim another two.

I'm also sure that you would have seen the impassioned plea on the news tonight from the family of the 21 year old boy who died in the car crash. They are right in what they say - restrictions do need to be made on P-Plate drivers. However, the blanket restrictions being suggested by the road safety council are too severe; they will infringe on the liberties of young P-Platers (such as myself) who need to be on the road after 10pm for study and work.

The problem does not lie in the hours that P-Platers drive at. Rather, the problem lies in the training. Put simply, it is way too easy for someone to get a license in Western Australia. This comes from experience - I passed the Hazard Perception Test less than 3 hours ago. The test to get your Learners Permit is a joke, the 25 hour routine can be beaten by a parent who couldn't care less, or a drive to Eucla and back, and the HPT could be passed by anyone who bothered to click their way through the practice questions.

The talk of banning P-Platers at nightime is ridiculous. Late night study groups, nightfill workers - I can think of a large number of P-Platers with valid reasons to be on the road after 10pm. A curfew will not only prevent these people from going about their legitimate and nessecary business, but would require a large amount of resources to police - resources which (from the looks of things) the Police service cannot afford.

Instead, what the Government should do is something constructive to benefit the P-Plater program. How about making it compulsory for all Learners to attend an Advanced or Defensive Driving Course? Not only will this be a boom to the Driving School Industry, but it might actually help reduce the P-Plater death toll caused through inexperience (like what happened on Saturday) by giving people the skills they need in situations like this, and possibly save their lives.

I implore you. Please do not impose a curfew on the P-Platers. Provide better training, put some more thought into the Learners program, and you'll achieve the goal of having less P-Plater deaths, and have a better trained group of P-Platers in the bargain.

An ongoing discussion of this petition can be found at http://forums.walan.org/index.php?showtopic=6180 (Registration Required).

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Lois DoyleBy:
Entertainment and MediaIn:
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the Government of Western Australia

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