Reforms power new P-plate laws as turbo is no longer taboo

READY TO ROLL: Road safety expert Matt Irvine with learner drivers Jenna Donno, Rosie Hogan and Leah Pentecost check out some of the cars that will soon be on the list for P-platers to drive. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 070614cturbo

READY TO ROLL: Road safety expert Matt Irvine with learner drivers Jenna Donno, Rosie Hogan and Leah Pentecost check out some of the cars that will soon be on the list for P-platers to drive. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 070614cturbo

TURBO is taboo no more for P-plate drivers, with a wider range of vehicles now acceptable for the central west’s newest drivers.

Until now, a blanket ban on all supercharged, turbocharged and eight-cylinder vehicles has restricted the type of vehicles P-platers can drive.

But from August 1, P-platers will have more car options to choose from under new reforms that redefine high-performance vehicles.

Road safety expert Matt Irvine said legislation had finally caught up with new car technology, and it  would make life easier for families and young drivers.

He said many modern turbo or supercharged vehicles were focused on fuel efficiency and safety, rather than speed.

“It encourages us to get young drivers into newer, safer, more fuel efficient cars,” he said.

“It [the new legislation] better reflects the range of cars available.

“It opens up the options, especially if you're shopping for a new car.”

Learner driver Leah Pentecost welcomed the change in legislation and said it will make the choice of purchasing her first car easier.

“It makes it more accessible and easier, especially if you've got a family car,” she said.

While the legislation was adequate when it was introduced a decade ago, Mr Irvine said new legislation was needed to match new car technologies.

“The power outputs of cars had a direct relation to crashes,” he said.

“Drivers in high-powered cars do crash more times than their peers without high-powered cars.”

Mr Irvine said there were some turbocharged vehicles on the banned list that had lower power and torque than cars P-platers were allowed to drive.

He said previous legislation was difficult for P-platers if the family car was on the banned list of high-performance vehicles.

“If the family car was a high performance car they had to apply for an exemption to drive that car,” he said.

“There's now a lot more cars for P-platers to drive without an exemption .”

Clancy Motors' Brendon Fush said safety, fuel efficiency and reliability, along with service and maintenance costs, were top of the list for parents looking to purchase a car for their child.

"Within two years 70 per cent of the Ford range will have access to the EcoBoost range of engines, which are all about fuel efficiency, as opposed to top-end performance,” he said.

Vehicles that remain banned for P-platers include cars above 130 kilowatts per tonne, and a few models that have performance characteristics that pose a high risk for inexperienced drivers.

For more information visit www.roadsafety.transport.nsw. gov.au.

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