The Victorian government is expanding a pilot scheme to give young drivers money to ditch their older model cars for a safer, more modern vehicle.
Expressions of interest open today for young drivers aged 18-25 to receive a $5,000 subsidy towards buying a safer vehicle as part of the program.
Under the program, up to 120 young Victorians have already bought safer, modern and more reliable vehicles.
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The trial aims to replace 1,000 older vehicles that are over 16 years old for more modern vehicles that have safety features to help prevent crashes – such as Lane Keep Assist and Autonomous Emergecy Braking systems.
Young drivers are at the greatest risk of being involved in a crash in their first years of solo driving and young regional Victorians driving older cars are 15 times more likely to be killed in crashes compared with the state average.
Of the 84 drivers who have died on Victorian roads this year, 14 were between 18-25 years old.
The program is part of Victoria’s Road Safety Action Plan under the Victorian Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030, which focuses on groups that are over-represented in road trauma.
Participants who complete the Vehicle Safety Basics course through the VicRoads e-learning portal will be given priority access to the program.
Roads minister Ben Carroll announced the first expansion of the unsafe2safe trial right across regional Victoria in August last year, with expressions of interest first open until 4 September 2022. Up to 150 drivers, aged 18-25 years old, took part in this phase of the program, which provided a $5,000 subsidy to replace their older vehicle with a safer, newer vehicle.
The trial originally aimed to replace up to 1,000 unsafe vehicles that are more than 16 years old and have poor safety ratings with more modern vehicles that include safety features to help prevent crashes entirely – such features include lane keep assist and autonomous emergency braking systems.
Young regional Victorians driving older cars are 15 times more likely to be killed in crashes compared with the state average. With many young Victorians expressing cost as a key barrier in accessing safer vehicles, this program will help many get behind a safer wheel before hitting the road.
The first phase of the trial began in 2021 in Ballarat and Bendigo, with young Victorians who participated now reaping the benefits of driving a safer vehicle. The targeted program is part of Victoria’s Road Safety Action Plan under the Victorian Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030, which focuses on groups that are over-represented in road trauma.
In 2022, 148 people have died on Victorian roads, compared to 130 in 2021.
“We’re reaching more young people this year by expanding the program to 1,000 participants. This means more safer cars for more young people in regional Victoria,” Minister for Roads and Road Safety Melissa Horne said.
“We know costs can be a real barrier when it comes to buying your first car. The $5,000 subsidy will g a long way in helping young people buy safer cars on the market and ensure they prioritise safety over budget.”
“Expanding the Unsafe2safe program means more young people across our state can now apply to take part in the program supporting them to be in a safer car,” Head of Road Safety Victoria Marcelo Vidales added.
“We are doing everything possible to reduce trauma on our roads. The Unsafe2safe program is just one of the ways we’re addressing safety issues faced by young drivers aimed to lower the risk of them being hurt or killed on our roads.”
Expressions of interest close on 27 August 2023. For more information on eligibility and to apply, visit engage.vic.gov.au/unsafe2safe.