OPPOSITION Senator Damion Crawford has suggested that the revenues which the Government earns from traffic tickets be used to start a drivers' education programme in schools, to assist with the push to stem the mayhem and fatalities on the country's roads.
"Now that everybody and him granny have a car or access to a vehicle, it seems to me necessary that within our school system, we could fund driving education; a billion dollars per year should be used for this effort. If our students are exposed, and if we could have a dedication of the funds to implement driving education in schools, road education and safety and road use [we could be promoting road safety]," Crawford proposed in the Upper House on Friday during the continuation of the debate on the regulations to the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act 2022.
Crawford pointed out that in five years, with approximately 40,000 students leaving secondary school annually, at least 200,000 persons would have been exposed to drivers' education and proper road use.
He also suggested that some of the funds from the ticketing system could also go towards a dedicated transportation system for students, particularly in the rural areas. "If this billion wasn't needed to pay doctors and nurses and teachers, and seek to use some of these funds to supplement our budgetary needs then we could legitimately have a school bus system subsidised by this traffic fine system," he told the Senate.
At the same time, Senator Crawford took issue with the age stipulation laid down for some of the provisions in the regulations, such as the requirement in the regulations for persons 70 years and older, to provide a medical certificate every three years in order to be eligible to drive. "However, despite the research that I did, I saw no reason to perceive that a 70-year-old was a higher risk — even if we perceive that a 70-year-old is more likely to be ill, there is no outcome that should make it different for a 70-year-old to get a licence. If there is no greater accident outcome, why is it that you are making it a requirement, a line a of resistance. It's a presumption of ill-health that was unnecessary," he explained
He also noted the minimum age of 24 set out in the regulations for driving instructors, arguing that the focus should be on the competency criteria which persons should fulfil in order to teach other persons to drive, such as years of experience. "If there are certain things you must achieve, so as to be an instructor, (such as) being educated, what is the reason that in addition to that education, you have have to have an age achievement?" he questioned.
The senator stressed that there were no bases for the requirements, nor any proven mischief being corrected.
— Alphea Sumner