Earning a drivers’ license is an exciting stage of life. However, with this opportunity of freedom, comes responsibilities and many P-platers an encounter or two with the traffic police.
Matt Minas has been off his robationary license for about a year now, and has thoroughly understood the difference between probationary and full license.
“As a P-plater I was subject to a random pull-over about once per month. Since I have got off my Ps, I haven’t been pulled over once.”
Dion Harris, a current green probationary driver agrees with Matt,
“Police would say they pull over probationary drivers more because there is a higher rate of offending amongst P-platers. I imagine this is the case.”
This comment illustrates that P-platers acknowledge that its fair enough to have some extra interest shown in them. But is that for the idea of educating young drivers, or is it revenue raising?
Leading Senior Constable Robert Williams, State Highway Patrolmen says that
“Highway Patrol will be tasked to certain areas and to focus on certain offences, it’s that simple. Police analysts can easily debunk the myth we patrol for revenue raising.”
He states that the tasking, state-wide in his situation, is essential as it is all based on analytics and statistics.
Senior Constable Williams doesn’t believe there is an unhealthy relationship between probationary drivers and specifically traffic police.
“There will always be a small percentage of P plate drivers that continue to drive in a manner that is unlawful and not accepted by the wider range of the community. It is usually these people that will try to lay blame at police that we are picking on them or harassing P plate drivers.”
These statements, that are all based on facts and analysis. This makes it difficult to give validity to the opposing arguments, that are ultimately made up of opinion, and less about fact.
Dion admits that he feels uncomfortable, rather than comfortable when seeing police on the road.
“Something as simple as rolling a few kilometres over can land a hefty ticket and demerits. When around police I’d be more focused on my speed as opposed to my surroundings when driving. Which I believe to be more unsafe than the few kilometres over.”
An interesting argument brought to light by Matt Minas states,
“Some of the safest roads in the world are in Germany where highways don’t have speed limits.” Statistics rate Germany’s road as the 13th safest in the world, while Australia’s sits at 23rd.
These statistics don’t necessarily support arguments made by P-platers, as we have relatively unsafe roads. Alternatively, the policing of our roads when it comes to subjects such as speed, are monitored by pre-positioned cameras, rather than Policemen themselves.
P-platers do at times feel targeted as they may receive more enquiries by policemen or random intercepts. Senior Constable Williams accepts this as a feeling, but contests it by explaining they are directly tasked to change driving behaviour in areas. Not target a certain few people.
TAC statistics state that from 1987 until 2016 state 19% of drivers that passed away on our roads were aged between 18 and 25.
In these situations, it’s easy to understand why there’s more attention paid to these young drivers. In this instance, it’s all about protecting and serving.
Leading Senior Constable Williams feels as thought these statistics are on the way down in his 18-year career.
“In my first few years working in traffic, it was not uncommon to detect a motorist travelling 45km/h or more just about every shift.”
“10 years on and the incidents at high speeds still exist, but nowhere to the extent of what it was. I have been lucky enough to see the progress police have had in reducing speed and other traffic related offences that contributed to the death on our roads.”
Leading Senior Constable William’s comments outline the reasoning and analysis behind the policing that some P-platers deem unfair. In the case of protecting and serving the community, P-platers don’t necessarily have a leg to stand on. As long as they understand why these things happen, the relationship between P-platers, police and the community can remain.