“In a massive backflip, the Liberal/Nationals Coalition has broken its long-standing promise to abolish the discriminatory Older Driver Test”, said Charmaine Crowe, CPSA Policy Coordinator.“In a statement to CPSA, the Coalition said they ‘…do not support mandatory aged based driver tests, but rather a system that rewards good behaviour…’.
As there was no mention of abolishing the test, CPSA called both Shadow Minister for Roads Andrew Stoner and Shadow Minister for Ageing Andrew Constance, only to be told that abolition of the test is ‘not Coalition policy’.
“Well, Mr Stoner & Mr Constance it was Coalition policy. To refresh your memories, your policy included:
“abolition of mandatory aged based driver tests to bring NSW into line with other States like Victoria and Queensland” (Barry O’Farrell & Andrew Stoner, NSW Liberal/Nationals Coalition media release, 28 October 2007).
“CPSA wonders how the Coalition will continue this discriminatory test but at the same time not support it if elected on March 26”.
“What’s worse, the Coalition reckons they can hoodwink pensioners by offering a 50% discount on licence renewals for good drivers - pensioners already get free licence renewals”.
“To date, there is not a shred of evidence that on-road testing has made NSW roads safer. What the evidence does show is that older people have the least number of accidents compared with other age groups”.
“New Zealand abolished its older driver test because it was shown to not improve road safety”.
“But it appears that ‘evidence-based policy’ is a foreign term in the Government’s and now the Opposition’s camps, which once considered the test ‘misguided at best and blatantly discriminatory at worst’”.
“24,000 people objected to the Older Driver Test in 2007 and public meetings organised by the Opposition at the time were reportedly packed with older people who were worried stiff about losing their only means of transport: their car”.
“And they have good reason too. If you live in rural or regional NSW and lose your licence, you are effectively trapped in your home”.
“CPSA supports mandatory reporting to the RTA of people with medical conditions that affect their driving skills. If someone is medically unfit to drive, whether they are 25, 45 or 85 years of age, they should not be on our roads.”
“But no government should arbitrarily discriminate against a group of people on the basis of their age. The Older Driver Test does exactly that and should be scrapped”.
Media contact: Charmaine Crowe
Mobile: 0410 612 182