Young drivers in the region will be given a cash incentive to help them buy a newer, safer vehicle under a state-first program by the NSW Nationals in Government.
The new Safer Cars for Country Kids program will provide a $5000 subsidy for up to 1,000 young drivers to help them purchase a safer car.
Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said this program would help save lives in the bush by getting younger people into safer cars.
“This new program will help to get old and unsafe cars off our country roads and make it easier for young drivers to get behind the wheel of a newer safer car,” Ms Cooke said.
“We want our kids to upgrade to a more modern vehicle with better safety features, like stability control, to keep them and others safe when driving on regional roads.
“While country residents make up only one-third of the NSW population, two-thirds of all fatalities occur on country roads, that’s why we’re rolling out new initiatives that keep our kids as safe as possible on our roads.”
Deputy Premier, Minister for Regional NSW and Minister for Police Paul Toole said the initiative recognised that young drivers are much more likely to inherit the old family car, or buy an older, cheaper or less safe vehicle as their first car.
“Every parent wants to know their kids are in the safest possible car when they head off down the road, especially in the regions where they are driving longer distances and dealing with additional challenges like dust and roos,” Mr Toole said.
“This landmark trial will provide a helping hand to young drivers to buy a safer set of wheels – and give their families greater confidence in their safety every time they’re on the road.”
Nationals Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway said the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government will first trial up to 50 young people in selected areas, before rolling out in phases to all regional areas across the state.
“If we want young people to really benefit from this program then we have to get it right, and this trial will provide us feedback on what works and what doesn’t,” Mr Farraway said.
“If you’re under the age of 25, drive a car with a used car safety rating of 1 or 2 stars, or is unrated and over 16 years old you may be eligible to participate in the program and upgrade to a safer vehicle.
The average age of vehicles in NSW is 10 years, and it takes longer for newer cars with better safety technology to filter out to younger drivers, especially those in regional areas.
Electronic Stability Control and advanced safety features such as, autonomous emergency braking or Lane Keeping System technologies have proven to reduce crashes.