Development of the Australian Graduated Licensing Scheme Policy Framework: a demonstration of jurisdictions taking action together to reduce road traumaRalston FernandesManager Safer People, Centre for Road SafetyAuthors: Evan Walker, Eric Howard, Anne Harris, Ben Barnes, Hannah Parnell and Reece Hinchcliff
The Graduated Licence System (GLS) • Staged approach to licensing • Minimising risky behaviours to reduce crash involvement • Present in all jurisdictions in some form • One of most effective measures to address youth road trauma • Fatalities among 15-24 year olds reduced by 29% • GLS models helped achieve reduction • But young drivers still have higher crash risk • Adolescent development – affects cognitive & perceptual skills • Lack of driving experience • Poor ability to detect & react to hazards • Failure to recognise and assess risks • Propensity to take risks and be over-confident BITRE 2013 – reduction in 5 years 2008-2012.
Development of a GLS policy framework • Development of framework on behalf of Austroads Road Safety Taskforce • Can be applied in all Australian jurisdictions • Review of current licensing arrangements • Discussion paper of findings • Consultation with all jurisdictions • Road safety policy staff • Support from all – potential to assist in work to improve GLS BITRE 2013 – reduction in last 5 years.
Key elements of an effective GLS • Safe licensing age • High levels of supervised driving experience • Effective testing • Risk reduction measures • Behaviour control measures • Licensing access support
Age of licensing • Policy recommendation: • The older a young person is when licensed the better • Encourage older age licencing • increase minimum licence age, OR • Delay licencing until substantial supervised experience gained • Supporting evidence: • 16 years minimum appropriate age to begin learning • Most jurisdictions allow at 17 years • Crash reduction predicted if increase to 18 years • Political & community pressure • Measures that support increases in age become licensed, an alternative to increasing minimum age
Pre-licence experience • Policy recommendations: • Minimum learner period of 12 months • Extensive supervised driving – minimum number of hours required • Supervised night time driving – set number of hours required • Supporting evidence: • Basic skills quick, complex cognitive abilities take longer • Increasing learner period from 6 to 12 months had positive road safety outcomes • Significant crash reductions by increasing hours to 100 and 120 • Young people higher crash risk at night
Effective licence testing • Policy recommendations: • On road tests that discriminate safe and less safe behaviours before P1 licence • Hazard perception tests (HPT) to progress from Learner to P1 licence • Supporting evidence: • Determine if safe to progress to driving solo • Currently, nature of tests and when applied varies • Test performance an indicator of experience • HPT show predictive validity • Crash risk of provisional drivers highest in first 6 – 12 months
Risk reduction measures Measure Policy recommendation Supporting evidence • Consider restrictions during provisional period Late night driving • Crash risk greater at night • Restrictions shown to reduce crashes • Education & exemptions needed • Consider restrictions during provisional period Peer passenger restrictions • Crash risk greater with peer passengers • Restrictions shown to reduce crashes • Exemptions needed • Consider restrictions during entire provisional period • Any phone use increases crash risk for inexperienced and young drivers • Apply to all portable technology devices Mobile phone restrictions • Consider ways to extend zero BAC requirement • Crash risk increases with any alcohol • Restrictions shown to reduce crashes • Extending P2 period is one option Zero BAC requirement • Consider total provisional period of 3 or 4 years Length of provisional requirements • Currently ranges from 2-4 years (19-22 years old) • Benefit of extending restrictions – e.g. zero BAC and fewer demerit points
Behaviour control measures • Policy recommendations: • Lower demerit point threshold for novice drivers are effective. Research the impact of penalties and enforcement on deterring young drivers from offending, and re-licence rates, to develop optimum approach • Supporting evidence: • More stringent penalties apply in most states • Lower demerit point threshold shown to be effective • Demerit points in GLS vary across jurisdictions • No evaluations to determine optimum • Additional research needed
Access to licencing • Policy recommendations: • Safety of young people should be priority of any assistance programs • Support programs to assist disadvantaged learners progress through GLS • Indigenous communities need support that goes beyond supervised driving • Supporting evidence: • Some communities have difficulty meeting GLS requirements • Need to balance safety benefits of GLS on wider community, with needs of disadvantaged
Areas requiring further research • Level and experience of supervising drivers • Online log books • Licencing requirements to progress to full licences • Extending the zero BAC requirement • Penalties for novice drivers • Driving programs as part of GLS • Nature and value of support programs for disadvantaged
Achieving improved GLS policy Evidence of effectiveness of measures Community support