A national road safety program which offers free driving lessons will now also offer free advice on safe cars in an effort to reduce road trauma.
As of September 1, the free Keys2drive lessons will teach learners and their parents the importance of driving the safest car they can afford, based on vehicle safety ratings. Keys2drive is funded by the federal government and supported by state motoring organisations including RAA.
RAA community engagement senior manager Ben Haythorpe said the program aimed to "prevent death and injury of young drivers, especially those on their first six-months of P-plate driving".
ANCAP chief executive James Goodwin said younger drivers were often faced with the extra risk on the roads because they drove older, less safe vehicles.
"Vehicle choice is an extremely important consideration for any new driver and we encourage learners and parents alike to check the ANCAP safety rating of the car they will be driving to make sure it is the safest choice,'' Mr Goodwin said.
"ANCAP research shows vehicles older than 15 years are involved in 36 per cent of fatal crashes compared with newer vehicles which are involved in far fewer at 12 per cent."
Research by the University of New South Wales revealed Keys2drive participants were 40 per cent less likely to be involved in a crash that causes moderate to serious injury in their first six months on P-plates.
After the lesson, learners receive a link to an RAA-produced video, which reinforces key messages from the lesson. Learners can register for a free lesson at www.keys2drive.com.au