Road users are urged to be cautious of the additional novice drivers on the roads during Schoolies Week (24-27 November), as new research reveals 29 per cent of Western Australians think young or inexperienced drivers are one of the biggest road safety risks.
The independent research commissioned by Slater and Gordon also showed that more than one third of WA respondents (38 per cent) know a learner or probationary driver who has had a traffic accident.
Slater and Gordon lawyer Tony O’Hurley said it was an exciting time for school graduates who had a new licence and were heading on holidays, but caution would be the key.
“A significant number of school leavers who are newly licensed will drive to WA’s south west and other hot spots for their end-of-school getaway,” he said.
“With so many more novice drivers on the roads travelling such long distances, it can increase the risk of traffic accidents and lead to serious injuries.
“Sadly, Western Australia has already seen some horrific road deaths and injuries this year and I believe driver behaviour and attitude are the keys to community safety.
“WA Police have set up a website www.leaverswa.com.au with a particular focus on novice driver legislation and I urge young drivers to review these laws and take appropriate care.”
Mr O’Hurley said the research also showed 66 per cent of all Western Australians – parents, friends and family – had talked with a learner or probationary driver about the dangers these new drivers faced on our roads.
“There’s no doubt that many Western Australian mums and dads have sat down with their teenager and had a serious conversation about driving safely,” he said.
“Our research shows that on the top of the discussion list is driving while drunk or drugged, closely followed by the emerging issue of using a mobile while driving.
“Other issues identified were speeding or hooning, getting in a car with a drunk or drugged driver, planning alternative ways to get home from events, and the dangers of road rage.
“I have seen so many families devastated by car accidents, and these are exactly the kinds of discussions we must continue having with young and inexperienced drivers in our community.
“We can all benefit by making sure we wear a seatbelt, turn off our phones, avoid alcohol and drugs, and get some rest. These simple steps alone can reduce the chance of a serious incident.”