New P-plate laws catch up with modern cars

Like other Victorian P-platers, Warrnambool’s Jack Doherty will soon be able to legally drive modern turbo and supercharged cars when official restrictions are changed from July 1.

First-year apprentice automotive technician Jack Doherty, 18, will be free to test drive and deliver a wider range of customer vehicles — including turbo and V8-powered cars — under new probationary licence laws.140617DW30 Picture: DAMIAN WHITE

First-year apprentice automotive technician Jack Doherty, 18, will be free to test drive and deliver a wider range of customer vehicles — including turbo and V8-powered cars — under new probationary licence laws.140617DW30 Picture: DAMIAN WHITE

The new classification system is based on power-to-weight ratio, rather than the number of cylinders or  mechanical design.

Thousands of  vehicles previously on the banned list will become available, including several models that Jack works on in his role as apprentice automotive technician with Callaghan Motors Warrnambool.

The restrictions prevented him from taking them on to the open road for testing or  delivery.

“It’s a good move,” his boss Steve Callaghan said yesterday.

“The reason most of these vehicles have turbos is better fuel economy rather than outright power.”

State Roads Minister Terry  Mulder said the new rules would apply to vehicles manufactured after January 2010, but those built before that time would continue to be under the current rules.

Post-January 2010 vehicles with a power-to-weight ratio of less than 130 kilowatts per tonne with be OK for P-platers.

Mr Mulder said young people in the rural and agricultural sectors would appreciate the changes.

“Changing the guidelines will open up better job opportunities for P-platers in regional areas,” he said.

“It recognises that some smaller cars have turbo as standard now, while making sure P-platers don’t drive cars built for speed.”

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