ARTA backs merit based road safety plan

The Australian Road Train Association says a proposal before the Victorian Government of actively encouraging better driver knowledge and behaviour rather than simple punishments is a step in the right direction for road safety.

The government is considering a British model of allowing drivers to trade demerit points in return for undertaking driver education.

“ARTA has long held a policy of reward as well as penalisation when it comes to the merit point system, and we see this type of policy proposal as a positive step forward,” ARTA Chief Executive Duncan Bremner says.

“It is about time governments recognise that masking one of their most significant revenue streams as ‘road safety’ is being proved for the furphy it is, and we congratulate the Victoria Government on working towards real solutions in addressing the unnecessary carnage on our roads.”

The proposal is an extension of ARTA support for a policy that would provide merit point rewards in recognition of the stringent training undertaken particularly by heavy vehicle operators.

“As regulators continually apply criteria and impediments in the form of accreditations and penalties, then they must equally recognise that the professional heavy vehicle operator is — through their experience, skill, and accreditation — a far more capable and safer driver than your average commuter.”

Bremner says the next step was for governments was to look further than simply ‘good’ and ‘bad’ drivers in regards to driver education and demerit points.

“Pro-active education is the only way to address the issue of road safety,” he says.

“Governments need to stop diverting the funds from their road revenue cash cows into general revenue, and provide real training systems for drivers rather than believing simply a couple of hours with mum or dad in the car before the test is enough.”

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