Aussie drivers will soon start seeing an "R plate" on some cars which are designed to help anxious drivers return to the road with ease after a traumatic experience or an extended absence.
But while some people think it's a great idea, others are a little more sceptical and think it could be problematic for some drivers.
The R plates — or Return plates — are a third-party initiative and are not an official item sanctioned by state road authorities like Learners or Provisional driver plates.
It's similar to a baby-on-board sign, according to reports, and aims to encourage other road users to have more empathy for nervous drivers.
The plates are being distributed by Australian service and repair company mycar, formerly Kmart Tyre and Auto.
"We care for those with physical injuries from a road incident, but we rarely consider the mental toll road trauma can take," mycar said, The Daily Telegraph reported.
"The R plate signifies to other road users that the driver may need some extra care, giving them time and space to recover. Recovering drivers can confidently return to the road knowing they are in a supportive space."
A car and motorcycle enthusiast detailed the new initiative on TikTok and encouraged drivers to check it out.
"If you see someone with an R plate maybe give them just a little bit more space," he said.
R plates could make it worse for drivers: 'Terrible idea'
The new initiative got mixed responses online, and while some loved the "amazing idea", others weren't convinced.
"Shouldn’t be on the road if your confidence isn’t up to scratch," one person hit out in the comments.
Others suggested the bright blue plates could make them a target while driving.
"'Give them room like an L plater'. I wish, being on my L's was hell, even when I did the speed limit and everything, no respect," someone else said.
Another person went as far as to say it's a "terrible idea".
"Some d**head is going to target R platers just like they would to L and P platers," they said.
'Wish I had one'
The new initiative however received praise from many who said they'd benefit from using the plates.
"After being in a crash where I was not at fault, driving became [so much] scarier. This is seriously such a great idea," one driver said.
"Love this, I wish I had one after my stroke. I was not allowed to drive for 6 months," wrote another.
Another said they "wish these were around when I first got back to driving after my accident".
"This is actually a really good idea! Gives people more ease and sense of safety coming back onto the road!! Amazing," someone else praised.
University of Melbourne professor Jason Thompson, an expert in transportation safety and post-injury rehabilitation, said it was important to recognise what drivers could be going through.
"Returning to the road can be a scary and nerve-racking experience, so even just having those feelings recognised could help people to recover faster," he said.
The plates can be ordered for free on the mycar website.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.