Contention: that the proposed curfew to ban probat

ionary drivers fromdriving between 11pm-5 am must be implemented
Form: letter to the editor
To the editor,
In June 2000, my brother was involved in a tragic car accident. While
driving home from speech night, he was hit by a careless motorist, his car
crashing into a nearby tree. My brother escaped alive, though to be forever
confined to a wheelchair. The passengers of the hoon car however, were not
so lucky. Their alcohol induced euphoria and their ignorant actions
resulted in their wasteful deaths. The detrimental harm caused by
irresponsible young drivers must be stopped. The proposed curfew to ban
first year probationary drivers from driving between 11pm and 5 am must be
implemented to decrease the deaths of young Victorian drivers.


Young drivers are more susceptible to driving accidents at night.

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Statistics presented by the TAC show that 24% of drivers killed in 2003
were between the ages of 18-25, an age group that represents merely 14% of
Victorian licence holders. 79% of these accidents were single vehicle
accidents, while 56% of these deaths occurred at night, from 8pm-6am, hours
where the number of vehicles on roads is minimal. It is clearly evident
from these abhorrent figures that it is inherently hazardous for young
drivers to be driving during late hours, as seen in ‘muck up day’ where the
presence of alcohol and a foolish decision have resulted in the tragic
death of a young man. Isn’t this what we should be stopping?
One must also recognise that the majority of these accidents are not mere
misfortunes, but the imminent outcomes of reckless risk-taking behaviours.

While realising certain risks of their actions, over-confidence and
drunkenness often compels young drivers to neglect this sense of danger.

This leads to aggressive driving behaviours and displays of terrifying
speeding in high performance vehicles. Senior Sergeant Burbige correctly
states: “Young drivers, particularly young male drivers, seem to think that
they are invincible in these kinds of cars,” This is all too clear in the
film, where the idea of speed and making sharp turns dominate the minds of
Ryan and his friends. News of young drivers suffering fatal crashes in
their ‘powerful weapons’ at night are heard of all too often. Can we allow
these deplorable tragedies to continue? I should think not.


Furthermore, a recent study by the Australian Drug Foundation has exposed
alarming levels of binge drinking among teenagers, which can be related to
driving accidents. These shocking findings are mirrored in drink driving in
young drivers. From 2000-2001, 2247 P-plate drivers were caught with a
blood alcohol reading. The abominable drug, alcohol, has detrimental
effects on the mental state of a person, impairing vision and rational
thinking. Being intoxicated with such a substance surely impairs
adolescents’ ability to judge the risks and consequences of their actions.

As stated by Ryan’s friend, after drinking alcohol, while knowing the risks
involved, he would still drive. We must enforce a curfew to inject harsh
consequences into the minds of the drivers, compelling them to take serious
thought in their self-destructive behaviours.


Some may argue that the curfew, like the drink driving campaigns, will not
resolve the problem. Let’s use common sense. The curfew can reduce the
suffering and the amount of deaths occurring on our roads. This will
undoubtedly save the lives of countless young Victorians. Opposition to the
curfew demonstrates an obvious lack of concern for the personal safety of
young drivers. The harsh consequences which may lead from breaking of the
curfew will insert a fear into the minds of adolescents, the fear that
while they may escape an accident with their ‘skilful driving abilities ‘,
they may be caught with a $2000 dollar fine, or even jail. Faced with such
consequences, would not young drivers put more serious thought into their
actions?
The current appalling statistics of probationary driver death on Victorian
roads is outrageous. It is destroying potential young Victorians, while
inflicting lamentable harm upon their families and communities. The
proposed curfew to prohibit probational drivers from driving at night,
along with its severe consequences, must be implemented to put an end to
these atrocities.


Yours faithfully
Roger Tao
Concerned Probationary Driver