Fivenines has undertaken a number of projects for Austroads, the umbrella association of Australian and New Zealand road and transport authorities. A recent example of these sought an alternative approach to obtaining a driver licence in remote Indigenous Australian communities.
It had been identified that the current licensing system does not work for people in these communities. There are a number of barriers:
- Low English literacy rates making the learning of road rules and safe driving practices prior to obtaining a learner permit difficult
- Difficulties in achieving the required minimum hours of supervised driving necessary to be eligible to apply for a provisional licence because of a lack of supervising drivers and suitable vehicles
- A lack of trust of licensing authorities including the police
These barriers lead to increasing numbers of un-licensed drivers and resulting prosecutions. Despite these prosecutions drivers continue to drive and ultimately end up in gaol. The number of Indigenous people incarcerated for traffic offences is significant, making up a large number of prisoners in affected areas.
Fivenines worked with Austroads to develop an approach to licensing which will produce improved road safety outcomes and reduce the numbers of Indigenous people in gaols.