Calls for new driver plates divides Aussies: 'Try them out'

The opinion has prompted mixed reactions from drivers and advocacy groups.

An Australian driver has reignited a controversial debate after suggesting elderly drivers should have their own 'senior plates' to help reduce road rage and improve safety.

Calling it something that doesn't exist "but should", the Sydney woman named Alison suggested E plates (elderly plates) or S plates (senior plates) should be introduced for those who are "a bit more cautious on the road and a bit slower, which isn't a bad thing".

"An example today is I was driving behind a driver who was taking a really long time at the roundabout, like almost stopping, and in my mind straight away I was like hurry the f up," she said on Wednesday on TikTok. "Anyway caught their reflection in the side mirror and it was this blessing, this little old man driving.

A file pic of cars travelling on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. A photo of the woman discussing why she thinks S plates should used.
A Sydney woman has suggested S plates for senior drivers in a bid to decrease road rage from others. Source: TikTok/alisonbutijer and AAP (file pic)

"So straight away I was like 'okay cool your jets, Alison'."

She pressed the question on social media, asking whether others thought it was a good idea. The video has since garnered more than 22,000 views, with people giving their mixed opinions.

"Definitely! My grandpa is 92 years old and still drives. He should definitely have an E plate," one person said.

"I heavily agree with this. I think the government should hear some of our ideas and at least try them out," another said.

"Honestly at a certain age you should be made to retake a driving test to see if it’s safe for them to be on the road," a third person commented.

Most insurance companies and advocacy groups oppose idea

An NRMA spokesman told Yahoo News Australia that the insurance company "previously rejected the proposal" and their view "remains the same".

Calls for S plates have also been rejected by senior advocacy groups like the National Seniors chairman, who have called the idea ageist, as a driver's competence should not be based off their age, but their actual driving ability. They argue S plates are an unnecessary generalisation.

Statistics also show that drivers who are involved in the most crashes are not seniors, Senior Criminal Lawyers say on their website.

Additionally according to the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics, in the last 12 months ending in February, the ages of those having the most road crash fatalities are between 40 and 64, followed by 26 to 39 and then 17 and 25.

Do you need to retake a driving test when you’re older?

In most states, drivers aged over 75 must undergo an annual medical assessment to keep their licence, and then from 85 have must complete a driving test every two years.

Drivers can also choose to cancel their unrestricted driver's licence or get a 'modified' one, which restricts you to just driving in your local area.

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