About time (the restrictions, not the slamming)? NRMA slams P-plate restrictions By David Higgins and AAP June 7, 2005 - 9:57AM The NRMA has criticised a Government plan to ban young P-platers from driving high-powered cars. NSW Roads Minister Michael Costa this morning announced changes for provisional drivers, with a particular focus on younger drivers. P1 and P2 drivers will be banned from driving cars of eight or more cylinders, or vehicles with souped up engines. The ban on V8 cars "meant that many family cars would now be off-limits to P platers, making life harder for young students, young parents and workers who only have access to one car", the NRMA said in a statement. Some older V8 cars "are less powerful than modern cars with six cylinder engines", NRMA chief Tony Stuart said. "Some V8 family cars and four-wheel-drives also have greater safety features than smaller cars." Country motorists would be "disenfranchised" by the decision to ban all new P platers except workers from driving a V8 car, NRMA director Graham Blight added. "Everyone who lives and works in country NSW knows that bush roads are worse than city roads and that thousands of rural families have V8 cars," Mr Blight said. "We need stronger cars for farm work and many property roads are nothing more than dirt tracks. It's impractical and unfair to ban P platers from driving V8s when they are required to help out on the family property." However, the NRMA backed other changes announced by Mr Costa. P-platers who have their licence disqualified will be limited to carrying one passenger for the first 12 months after the licence is reinstated. The changes were designed to address the "optimism bias" of young drivers, Mr Costa said. "We need to change attitudes, we need young drivers, novice drivers particularly, to understand that they do have what the experts call an optimism bias," he told ABC radio. "They believe they can conquer the world with their new licence but that's not the case in terms of the skills they have." The NRMA supported restrictions on turbo and super turbo-charged vehicles and exemptions for P platers using a company car and self-employed workers, Mr Stuart said. "Minister Costa's decision not to introduce a blanket ban on powerful cars in regional areas is promising. NRMA hopes that the Government will be flexible in its definition of rural areas and in its application of an exemption for workers." Sixteen to 20-year-olds accounted for 7 per cent of all drivers, but were involved in 17 per cent of fatalities, Mr Costa said. A 17-year-old P1 licence-holder was four times more likely than the average driver to be involved in a fatal crash. Greater training, demerit point incentives and disincentives, and standardisation of plate positioning would also be looked at as part of the plan, Mr Costa said. Today's changes come into effect in mid-July. Mr Costa said other measures, including tougher driver training requirements, were expected to go before state cabinet later this year.