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Coalition targets younger drivers in roads policy

Right direction: The federal coalition will target road trauma with a $2.2 billion funding injection if it wins government.

Abbott aims to reduce road trauma via $2.2b funding, $10m for young driver scheme

General News logo22 Aug 2013

THE federal opposition has thrown its support – and a $2.2 billion funding commitment – behind a campaign to reduce road trauma throughout Australia.

Opposition leader Tony Abbott today announced a Coalition government would “improve road safety through greater investment in roads, targeted training to learner drivers and parents, closer co-operation with state and territory governments and through undertaking a major study into road trauma”.

“The Coalition’s ‘Policy to Improve Road Safety’ will deliver better roads as the central part of our plan to cut the road toll and road trauma,” the release announcing the policy said.

“We will also target the driving skills of young people, who continue to feature disproportionately in deadly accidents.” Key to the policy is the announcement that a Coalition government would commit to an extra $10 million in funding for the Keys2Drive program, a young driver initiative run by Australia’s state motoring organisations such as the RACV and NRMA.

As well, the Coalition said it would invest in major road projects across Australia, spending $2.2 billion over five years on road improvements, fixing accident black spots and establishing heavy vehicle safety and productivity programs.

It has also said it would encourage people to buy safer cars and continue to support the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) star safety rating system, as well as recognising road safety for cyclists as a priority.

The Australian Automobile Association, which represents the interests of Australia’s motoring lobby groups, welcomed today’s announcement.

“This is a very welcome commitment it is very encouraging to see a significant commitment to road safety in the context of the federal election campaign,” AAA chief executive Andrew McKellar said.

“Young drivers face a significantly increased crash risk when they transition from their L-plates to their P-plates and this program is intended to assist young people to be better drivers and safer drivers.” The federal Labor government has funded the Keys2Drive program, which among other things offers young drivers a free lesson, since 2008. The program’s current round of funding is due to expire at the end of this year.

Since its inception, the program has helped more than 200,000 young drivers with free lessons.

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