New measures proposed to curb youth road toll

Young drivers are at far greater risk of road accidents than the rest of the population.

Young drivers are at far greater risk of road accidents than the rest of the population.
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Tuesday, 27 April 2010

University of Adelaide researchers have called for passenger restrictions on inexperienced drivers to curb the appalling road accident statistics among the State's youth.

Dr Lisa Wundersitz from the University's Centre for Automotive Safety Research (CASR) says drivers aged 16-24 years make up 13% of the State's licensed driving population, but in 2009 were involved in 33% of fatal crashes in South Australia.

"Young drivers are over-represented in crashes. Not only do they account for more than a third of all fatalities in the State, they also make up 25% of drivers seriously injured," she says.

The State Government has passed legislation to extend the learner period from 6 to 12 months but has not adopted passenger restrictions for young drivers, which are in force in the other four mainland states.

The high number of crashes among newly licensed drivers suggests that inexperience plays a major factor in road accidents, Dr Wundersitz says.

"We need to look at making changes to the licensing scheme, such as restricting passenger numbers for inexperienced drivers."

Current attitudes that promote risk-taking among young male drivers as "cool behaviour" also need to be challenged, she says.

"The third factor we need to address is unsafe vehicles. Young drivers need to be encouraged to purchase safer cars with features such as electronic stability control."

The number of young driver fatalities in South Australia increased from 28 deaths in 2008 to 41 in 2009. To date, seven drivers aged between 16-24 have been killed this year on the State's roads.

WHAT: CASR Public Lecture: "Current issues in young driver road safety" by Dr Lisa Wundersitz
WHERE: Art Gallery of South Australia Auditorium, North Terrace
WHEN: Wednesday 28 April, 4pm-5.30pm
COST: Free - all welcome
RSVP: Leonie Witter on (08) 8303 4114 or


Contact Details

Dr Lisa Wundersitz
Research Fellow
Centre for Automotive Safety Research
University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 6298
Mobile: 0427 792 595

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762