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Why I'm making my son wait longer for his licence

Dr Bridie Scott-Parker is a young driver road safety expert who is delaying her 16-year-old son Brock from obtaining his open driver's licence because he is a risk-taker. She is making him do 300 hours instead of the 100.
Dr Bridie Scott-Parker is a young driver road safety expert who is delaying her 16-year-old son Brock from obtaining his open driver's licence because he is a risk-taker. She is making him do 300 hours instead of the 100. Warren Lynam

YOUNG driver road safety expert Dr Bridie Scott-Parker is so concerned about inexperienced teenagers behind the wheel that she has delayed allowing her own 16-year-old son to obtain his learner's permit.

The University of the Sunshine Coast Adolescent Risk Research Unit leader doesn't apologise for the "better safe than sorry" approach that will affect son Brock because of what she sees as unclear driver training and practice recommendations during the learner licence.

She is well aware of the risks involved in putting young drivers on the road too early.

"I have a daughter who has her learner's licence and a son who is eligible to apply for one but will not be doing so as it is too risky," Dr Scott-Parker said.

"I've been brainwashing both of my children since birth regarding road risks.

"I have delayed Brock's licensure deliberately, which means he'll be older when he can drive independently which I know is one way of keeping him safe.

"Brock will be recording 300 hours in his logbook because I know his personality: he is a risk-taker."

Queensland road rules require 100 hours before transitioning to a provisional licence but this may be too early for individuals such as Brock, Dr Scott-Parker said.

"One of the unintentional messages we send with graduated licensing is that 100 hours equals a safe driver; it doesn't," Dr Scott-Parker said.

"When you fill your logbook with 100 hours, lots of people think 'yay' that means they're an experienced driver. They're not an experienced driver at all. You need around 10,000km of driving to be an experienced driver."

EasyAs Driver Training driving instructor Mark Anson said driving could either be an accumulation of good habits or bad habits.

Mr Anson said merging, following and highway skills were important to a learner driver while the highest threat to younger drivers was the lack of ability to identify risk.

"These risks may be caused by other drivers, road weather and condition of vehicle," Mr Anson said.

Mr Anson said newer drivers were more inclined to buy their first car second-hand while drivers who had been on the road longer usually had newer model vehicles.

"Newer vehicles are able to stop faster than older models, which is what younger student drivers drive," Mr Anson said.

Late-model cars are able to stop much faster than an older car with weaker brakes, which may cause an issue for newer road users.

Mr Anson said good advice for young drivers was to anticipate risk and modify driving to accommodate the situation.

Topics:  driver behaviour driver's licence editors picks l plates risk management road safety



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