Phoenix Community College will see their third consecutive team take part in the YMCA Youth Parliament program this year, with the team debating a Bill for mandatory driving tests for elderly citizens.
The six young team members have aimed to implement the Bill in order to reduce the Victorian road toll.
“[The] road toll relating to elderly drivers is at an all time high,” 17-year-old team member, Maddison Sharp said.
“[We hope] to regulate annual driving tests for motorists over the age of 65. Everybody should be given the right to feel safe on the roads, even the elderly at the hands of wheel”.
The Bill indicates 45 people aged over 75 were killed on the Victorian roads in 2013, whilst 39% of all pedestrian deaths were 75 years or older.
“As people age, their reflexes do as well,” said Maddison.
She believes the public is becoming increasingly aware there should be regulations on what she calls “elderly drivers”.
If the Bill succeeds, driving tests for those who previously held a Victorian drivers license, shall be compulsory for people over the age of 65.
People will be required to sit a retest every five years after the initial test.
With driving tests conducted under the responsibility of VicRoads, elected elderly advisory groups will be implemented to help dictate the types of testing required for drivers.
Victorians will receive an invitation to participate in the driving test on their 64th birthday, and will be offered public transport vouchers when they reach the age of 65.
“It is not our intention to deprive the elderly of their right to drive, but to facilitate appropriate testing that would allow our roads to be safe, and for our older citizens to not be a risk, or at risk,” said Maddison.
After drafting the Bill, the Phoenix College team will present it to the chamber, before it will go before ministers.
“I cannot wait to have an opportunity to speak about what really matters to me, whilst being given a chance to debate real topics that can be changed into laws,” said Maddison.
“We want Victoria’s road toll to decrease, and we hope that other states will follow our example.”
The Phoenix Community College team consists of Maddison Sharp, Sarah Lauder, Joshua Liston, Kimberly Cody and Brad McDonald.
Published in the Youth Parliament Press Gallery, June 18 2014