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Most drivers prefer a quick young learner

| 27.12,11. 09:18 AM |


Most drivers prefer a quick young learner


December 27, 2011

L-PLATERS should be allowed to drive faster before they obtain their licence, according to NSW motorists.
An exclusive Daily Telegraph Young Drivers survey has found more than half of road users - 52 per cent - thought the speed limit for learners should be increased to 90km/h after six months.

A third of the 3000 respondents said that the existing 80km/h limit was too slow.

Increasing the L-plate speed limit was one of a number of controversial recommendations made by the NSW Auditor-General in October, which are being considered by the state government.

Trent Driving School general manger Stephen O'Sullivan said young learners needed experience at higher speeds before getting P-plates.

"I'd like to see no stand-alone speed restriction for L-platers," he said.

"They should be able to travel the sign-posted limit. They need to get that experience. It is odd that a learner can sit in a car with me and go only 80km/h and then they get their P-plates and can drive 10km/h faster."

Brigid Doherty, 19, of Toongabbie, who obtained her P-plates two years ago, agreed L-platers should be legally allowed to go faster.

"I really hate L-plates - going 80km/h is dangerous on a highway," she said.

"People are having to merge around them and they are frustrated - it is more dangerous for others."

The state government is considering raising the speed limit for learners, but said in its response to the Auditor-General that speed was a "key contributing behavioural factor" in all crashes.

"It is a contributing factor in 51 per cent of fatal crashes involving young drivers," it said.

"The 80km/h speed restriction provides the learner driver with greater control of the vehicle and a shorter stopping distance if suddenly required to stop.

"It also provides increased safety for the learner driver and their passengers and emphasises speed is the major road safety issue."

The Roads and Maritime Service - previously the RTA - will also consider if the change will adversely affect the safety of learner drivers and their supervisors.

"The review will examine road crash patterns of learner drivers on high-speed roads and effectiveness regarding compliance and enforcement," the RMS said in a response to the Auditor-General.

Learner drivers are 20 to 30 times less likely to be involved in a serious crash than P1 drivers, the RMS added.


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