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17 October 2011

Unaccompanied learner drivers to lose licence under new rules

Transport and Multicultural Affairs

The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

17/10/2011

Unaccompanied learner drivers to lose licence under new rules

Learner drivers who drive unaccompanied would lose their licence under proposed tough new road safety rules.

Between May 2010 and May 2011, a total of 13,824 infringements were issued to unaccompanied learner drivers and riders.

Transport Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk said State Cabinet had agreed to increase the penalty for learners driving unaccompanied from one demerit point to four demerit points.

Currently learner drivers risk having their licence suspended if they accumulate four or more demerit points in a 12 month period.

"Let's be clear - under these new rules, if you're a learner driver and you choose to drive unaccompanied then you're choosing to lose your learner licence," Ms Palaszczuk said

"If your licence is suspended then you have waived your right to drive and you could delay the date that you can apply for a provisional licence.

"Three months can seem like an eternity for a young person but that's how long you may have to put your learner licence on hold if you rack up four demerit points.

The current penalty for learners who drive unaccompanied is a $160 fine and one demerit point.

Ms Palaszczuk said most of these infringements were not for the youngest of learners on our roads but for learners aged 20 and over.

"The proposed changes will apply to learners of all ages driving any type of motor vehicle," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"We've already done the hard yards on improving training and licensing for young drivers, and we're seeing the results.

"And this is an important next step.

"My message to learner drivers is simple: think long and hard before driving unaccompanied.

"Ultimately, this is about protecting other road users and saving lives.

"Learner drivers have a much higher risk of being involved in an accident if they don't have an experienced driver in the vehicle.

"When they drive unaccompanied they put themselves and other road users at risk, and that's simply not acceptable."

Ms Palaszczuk said the proposed changes would come into effect by early next year.

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COMMENT: Congratulations to Annastacia Palaszczuk who is the first Transport Minister to recognise that Queensland drivers have the "right" drive - subject to compliance with all rules and regulations - and that it is not merely a "privilege" handed out by autocratic bureaucrats.

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