Becoming a P plater is a time of independence and freedom. Finally, you and your mates are able to get around without waiting for mum, dad or the train.
But there is also a serious side. In the first year or so after getting your licence you are more at risk of being involved in a crash than almost any other driver on the road. Your risk is further increased if you are driving around with your mates.
You can help reduce your risk of being in a crash by:
Not using a mobile phone
- Learner and P1 drivers, are prohibited from using a mobile phone at all while driving.
- Fully licensed drivers can use a mobile phone while driving to make or receive a phone call or to use its audio/music functions provided the phone is secured in a commercially designed holder fixed to the vehicle, or can be operated by the driver without touching any part of the phone, and is not resting on any part of the driver's body.
- Using a phone as a navigational device/GPS while driving is prohibited unless it is secured in a commercially designed holder fixed to the car. All other functions (including video calls, texting and emailing) are prohibited.
From 25 November 2013, new rules relating to the use of mobile phones while driving will be introduced in Victoria.
Penalties for the illegal use of mobile phones whilst driving will increase:
- the fine from $289 to $433
- demerit points from 3 to 4 points.
Penalties for the illegal use of visual display units such as DVD players and tablet computers will be consistent with mobile phone penalties:
- $433 fine
- 4 demerit points.
Holders of a probationary P2 licence will not be able to use a mobile phone for any task while driving, including making or receiving a call or messaging of any kind; this ban already applies to probationary P1 licence holders and learner drivers.
Note that it remains illegal for any driver to use a hand-held mobile phone or visual display unit while driving.
Not drinking and driving
- While on your Ps it is illegal to have any alcohol in your system.
- A blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05 doubles your chances of crashing
- At a BAC of 0.08 you are 5 times more likely to have a crash
- At a BAC of 0.15 you are around 25 times more likely to have a crash
- If you are planning a night out that involves drinking leave the car at home, arrange for someone to be the designated driver, ask your parents to pick you up or share a cab home with friends.
Wearing your seat belt
- Almost 25% of drivers killed on our roads were not wearing a seat belt at the time of their crash.
- In the event of a crash, seat belts are designed to keep you inside the car and reduce the risk of you hitting the steering wheel, dashboard, or windscreen.
- Wear a seat belt at all times, no matter how short the distance or how remote the location.
Not driving tired
- Fatigue is one of the major contributors to fatal crashes in Victoria.
- If you're studying, working and/or socialising you may often be tempted to drive tired or when you'd normally be sleeping just to fit everything in.
- Make sure you get a good nights sleep before you drive.
- Take a 15 minute powernap whenever you feel drowsy or sleepy.
- Avoid driving during normal sleeping hours.
- If you are tired and need to get somewhere, try to arrange a lift, use a cab or even catch public transport.
Driving a safe car
- Protect yourself and your mates by choosing a safe car that stacks up well in crash tests.
- Not all cars are created equal in terms of safety
- Cars within a similar price range may differ in the level of protection they offer occupants in a crash.
- If you're in the market for a car, look at a range of cars that suit your budget, travel needs and style and then pick the one that's the safest.
- There are safe cars for every budget out there. You can also visit How Safe Is Your First Car to view cars under $5000, $10,000 and $20,000
A safe car could save you or your mate's life in a crash.