Young drivers in regional NSW will be given a cash incentive to help them buy a newer, safer vehicle under a new state-first program by the NSW Nationals in government.
The Safer Cars for Country Kids program will provide a $5,000 subsidy for up to 1,000 young drivers to help them purchase a safer car.
Deputy Premier, Minister for Regional NSW and Minister for Police Paul Toole said the initiative recognised that young drivers are much more likely to inherit the old family car, or buy an older, cheaper or less safe vehicle as their first car.
“Every parent wants to know their kids are in the safest possible car when they head off down the road, especially in the regions where they are driving longer distances and dealing with additional challenges like dust and roos,” Mr Toole said.
“This landmark trial will provide a helping hand to young drivers to buy a safer set of wheels – and give their families greater confidence in their safety every time they’re on the road.”
Nationals’ Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway said the NSW Nationals will first trial up to 50 young people in selected areas, before rolling out in phases to all regional areas across the state.
“If we want young people to really benefit from this program then we have to get it right, and this trial will provide us feedback on what works and what doesn’t,” Mr Farraway said.
“If you’re under the age of 25, drive a car with a used car safety rating of 1 or 2 stars, or is unrated and over 16-years-old, you may be eligible to participate in the program and upgrade to a safer vehicle.
“Having good and effective programs that help our next generation of road users such as Safer Cars for Country Kids, will help to keep our great state moving forward.”
Peter Frazer OAM, President of Safer Australian Roads and Highways, supports the initiative.
“Too many novice drivers in our regional communities are killed or seriously injured simply because their vehicles are not as safe as they could be,” Mr Frazer said.
“Providing support to those who are most at risk will allow them to upgrade their cars to safer ones. This initiative will help save lives.”
Driver education specialist Matthew Irvine said staying safe on the road presents extra challenges for young people living in the country.
“People living in regional NSW usually spend more time on the road, driving longer distances and at higher speeds. Programs such as the one announced today will definitely help keep our young people safe on the roads,” Mr Irvine said.
“Research shows newer vehicles equipped with advanced active and passive safety technology are far less likely to be involved in a fatal crash.
“As someone who educates young drivers, today’s announcement is a big positive and a step in the right direction to saving more lives on our roads.”
The average age of vehicles in NSW is 10 years, and it takes longer for newer cars with better safety technology to filter out to younger drivers, especially those in regional areas.
Electronic Stability Control and advanced safety features such as, autonomous emergency braking or Lane Keeping System technologies have proven to reduce crashes.
More information on eligibility is available here: https://roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au/stayingsafe/vehiclesafety/safer-cars-country-kids.html