Andrews’ Labor Government is backing a new trial that will help young Victorians overcome barriers to accessing a safe vehicle, while collecting critical data to help drivers learn to be safer on the road.
The Transportation Accident Board (TAC) is contributing $50,000 to the pilot program led by Empowr Mobility, a social enterprise that aims to improve access to safe vehicles, while developing safe driving behaviors and habits .
For the trial, Empowr partnered with regional hotspot organizations in Geelong and Shepparton to provide four young drivers with access to a safe and fit-for-purpose vehicle.
Ganbina, an indigenous school-to-work transition scheme, will pilot the program in Shepparton, while in Geelong, the main regional employer Barwon Water will support the program through its progressive training programme.
The test vehicles, supplied by IAG (Insurance Australia Group), were equipped with telematics to collect driving data. Participants will use the Empowr CAR[A] app, which will collect data and provide real-time insights to help drivers learn to be safer on the road.
Participants will have access to the vehicle for the duration of the three-month trial, enhancing their ability to connect with their local communities through work, education and social opportunities.
The trial responds to a number of current road safety concerns, including the rise in the number of young people dying on Victorian roads – 22 people aged 18-25 have already lost their lives this year, up from 14 in 2021 .
Road safety authorities are also concerned about the death toll in older vehicles, with around two-thirds of driver and passenger fatalities over the past five years occurring in a vehicle built more than a decade ago. .
An evaluation will be conducted at the end of the pilot period to determine if the program will be extended and how to increase organizational participation. Empowr Mobility is launched by the National Road Safety Partnership Program.
As Minister for Roads and Traffic Safety Ben Carroll said
“Socio-economic factors are a very real barrier for many Victorians when it comes to choosing a safe car and should not be a reason why anyone is unprotected on our roads.”
“Improving access to safe vehicles will go a long way to reducing road trauma. a car’s design and safety features can help reduce the severity of an accident or even prevent it altogether.
As stated by the CEO of the Transportation Accident Board, Joe Calafiore
“We know that safe vehicles are among our most powerful tools for reducing road trauma and we will continue to look for ways to help people access them.”
“The TAC is proud to support this trial which will not only have road safety benefits for the participants, but also improve their social and community connection, as well as access to work and education.