Road users are urged to be cautious of the additional novice drivers on the roads during Schoolies Week next week, as new research reveals many Victorians know a young driver who has been involved in a road accident.
The independent research commissioned by Slater and Gordon motor vehicle accident lawyers found almost half of Victorians (46 per cent) know a learner or probationary driver who had a traffic accident.
The research also found that almost one third of Victorians (27 per cent) believe young or inexperienced drivers are one of the biggest road safety risks.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers Ballarat motor vehicle accident lawyer Matthew Naughtin said it was an exciting time for school graduates who had a new licence and were heading on holidays, but they needed to be cautious.
“A significant number of school leavers who are newly licensed will drive to Victoria’s coastal towns for their end-of-school getaway,” Mr Naughtin 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, there have been 127 road deaths in rural Victoria so far this year compared with 115 for all of 2013.
“Last year 14 road users aged 18 to 20 lost their lives on Victoria roads. The same number of young drivers have died so far this year. The last thing we want is for that to increase.”
Mr Naughtin said the research also showed 71 per cent of all Victorians – 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 Victorian 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.”