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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Release - Safe Drivers

Leader of the State Opposition
Shadow Minister for Infrastructure
Friday, 20 January 2006

Safe Drivers Incentive Scheme launched by State Liberal Team

The State Liberal Team today announced a further commitment as part of its plan to improve road safety in Tasmania and reduce the number of road accidents and fatalities on our roads.

Leader of the State Opposition, Rene Hidding and Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Brett Whiteley announced that a Hidding Liberal Government would establish a Safe Drivers Incentive Scheme.

“The Safe Drivers Incentive Scheme will provide a discount of 25% for any driver renewing their driver’s licence who has not collected a demerit point during the previous three-year period,” Mr Hidding said.

“Under the State Labor Government, the level of speeding fines has reached record levels with many motorists concerned that the State Government is more focussed on revenue raising rather than improving the safety of our roads.

“This cynicism is stoked by the fact that whilst the State Government is all to ready to punish bad drivers, it rarely seeks to reward good drivers.

“Whilst the State Liberal Team absolutely believe that there is a role for appropriate and strong traffic enforcement, especially targeting irresponsible drivers, we also believe that Tasmanian drivers should be given greater incentive where they have heeded road safety messages and have a record of driving safely and responsibly.

“A Hidding Liberal Government will see that those Tasmanians who maintain good driving records over a period of time are rewarded for their sensible approach to our roads through the new Safe Drivers Incentive Scheme.

Mr Whiteley said that a Hidding Liberal Government will reward those drivers who maintain a perfect driving record, that is, do not collect any demerit points, for a minimum of three years with discounts of 25 per cent off their licence fees at the time of renewal.

“Drivers maintaining a perfect and safe driving record will, in effect, collect a dual bonus of keeping themselves, their families and their passengers safe on Tasmanian roads as well as receiving a discount on their license renewals,” Mr Whiteley said.

“Road safety authorities put a lot of effort into conveying road safety messages to drivers and the Tasmanian community. The State Liberal Team believes that it is important to recognise those responsible drivers that listen to these messages.

Mr Whiteley said that the cost of the Safe Drivers Incentive Scheme would be approximately $615,000 per annum, all of which will be sourced from speed camera revenue. The Victorian Government, which has implemented a similar program, estimates that approximately 50% of all drivers will be eligible for licence renewal discounts.

“The Safe Drivers Incentive Scheme is just one part of the State Liberal Team’s plan and commitment to significantly improving road safety in Tasmania. As part of our comprehensive approach to better road safety through better driver education, improved roads and appropriate enforcement we will implement policies including:
· cracking down on unlicensed drivers caught or driving an unregistered vehicle;
· establishing a $2 million traffic accident blackspots program;
· directing all speed camera revenue into road safety initiatives;
· establishing a representative community committee to develop and oversee new guidelines for the placement of speed cameras to focus more on road safety than revenue-raising;
· reducing speed limits at accident blackspot areas and on notorious rural and metropolitan roads in consultation with the community;
· signing an agreement with the Federal Government to adopt a national, compulsory P-plate driver education program;
· establish a new Road Safety Authority with over-arching responsibility to advance road safety, including promoting driver education and awareness;
· providing $20 million over five years to upgrade the Lyell Highway between Granton and New Norfolk, one of Tasmania’s most dangerous sections of highway;
· providing $26 million over four years to make a real start on a long overdue upgrade of the West Tamar Highway;
· providing a $20 million investment, over five years, in Hobart’s Eastern Shore roads; and
· providing $35 million over five years to construct the Kingston Bypass.”

Mr Whiteley said that the State Liberal Team would be releasing further details of their plan to improve road safety in the lead up to the upcoming State Election.

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