Sun. May 26th, 2024

Premier Dominic Perrottet has this week announced plans for an upcoming trial to help fund young drivers in country areas to buy safer cars.

The Safer Cars for Country Kids program will launch in a trial capacity in the second half of 2023. Initially, the trial offering will only be open to 50 applicants in selected areas. It will then expand to
1000 young drivers from regional areas statewide. The program promises successful recipients a
$5000 subsidy towards the purchase of a safer car. 

The incentive comes off the back of a recent NSW Centre for Road Safety study which found that
forty-three per cent of cars being driven by young drivers involved in fatal crashes were more than 15 years old. The study also found that drivers in rural areas are often less likely to purchase vehicles that fall under the five-star ANCAP safety rating.

Often, young drivers inherit cars from family or friends or purchase cheaper, older ones. Consequently, this portion of the market which is often more at risk of road accidents is also being excluded from cars that possess the recommended safety features to aid in crash avoidance.

This prevalence of older, larger vehicles, coupled with the necessity for youth in regional areas to
travel long distances at high speeds for work or study is what has led the government to target the
regions first.

It is hoped that the one-off subsidy will enable more young drivers to purchase newer, lighter, safer
vehicles. Autonomous emergency braking and lane-keeping system technologies are cited as being
some of the safety features thought to reduce crashes.

The proposed eligibility criteria currently state that drivers must be under 25 years old, live in a rural
area, and be a holder of valid NSW driver’s license.  They must also be the registered owner of a car
that is over 16 years old, or be the registered owner of a vehicle that has a one- or two-star used car
safety rating.

At this stage, neither a list of specific locations nor an official start date has been released however,
the NSW Transport website states that more detailed eligibility criteria will be available soon.

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