Australia, known for its picturesque landscapes and vibrant culture, is taking a significant step towards enhancing road safety and regulating high-performance vehicles. In a move aimed at creating a safer environment for both drivers and pedestrians, the Australian government has rolled out a groundbreaking legislation, introducing the U Class driver’s license requirement for individuals operating powerful machines often referred to as sports cars or supercars. These vehicles, synonymous with adrenaline and speed, are now subjected to stricter regulations, mitigating the potential risks associated with their immense power and performance.
U-Class Driver’s License
At the forefront of this pioneering initiative is the South Australian Government. It has unveiled plans that will see around 270 drivers in the state needing to obtain the new U Class driver’s license by December 1, 2024. To acquire this specialized license, individuals must complete an upcoming online training course specifically designed for high-powered vehicles.
Scheduled for release early next year, the comprehensive course will delve into essential topics such as risk awareness, utilization of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), and the responsible operation of performance cars. The scope of the new law encompasses all vehicles with a power-to-weight ratio equal to or exceeding 276 kilowatts per tonne (370 horsepower per 1,000 kilograms / 2,204 pounds).
However, the legislation doesn’t merely revolve around license upgrades. The South Australian Government is taking things a step further by incorporating measures to prevent the disabling of electronic safety systems in high-performance vehicles. This crucial move ensures that pivotal safety features like anti-lock braking, automated emergency braking, electronic stability control, and traction control remain operational at all times.
One aspect that raises eyebrows is the drivers’ engagement with the sports mode of their supercars, often referred to as race mode, or even sport+, within built-up areas. Tragedies resulting from such actions can now lead to charges for an “aggravated offense” under the newly established laws. Of course, there are exceptions to these rules.
“It is also a defense if it was impracticable to drive with the automated intervention system enabled, as there are some circumstances where such systems should legitimately be turned off, like when a vehicle is bogged or being driven on loose surfaces,” explains Joe Szakacs, Minister for Police, Emergency Services, and Correctional Services, in an exclusive conversation with CarExpert.
Transport safety experts in Australia have highlighted that activating sport modes in supercars within urban environments can lead to heightened responsiveness and power, factors that might contribute to unfortunate accidents. The introduction of this legislation demonstrates the South Australian Government’s commitment to striking a delicate balance between preserving the exhilaration of driving these high-performance vehicles and prioritizing public safety.
Thinking of switching your AMG to RACE MODE or SPORT+? Think again!
In the realm of high-performance vehicles, modes like Race Mode or Sport+ can be alluring. They promise an enhanced driving experience, delivering increased power and responsiveness. However, under the new regulations, engaging these modes within populated areas could have severe consequences.
The South Australian Government’s stance on such actions is clear – it’s not just about the thrill; it’s about safeguarding lives. So, before you rev that engine to its fullest potential, consider the implications not only for your driving experience but also for the safety of those around you.
A Shift in Driving Culture
While safety remains a paramount concern, there’s a sentiment echoing among enthusiasts that Australia might be veering towards becoming a police state when it comes to driving regulations. Many express their dissatisfaction with the growing restrictions on driving freedom and the perception that driving is becoming more and more constricted. The love for the open road and the exhilaration of high-speed driving are deeply ingrained in the Australian driving culture, and some feel that the current trajectory might be stifling that spirit.
Australia’s bold step towards enhancing road safety and regulating high-performance vehicles is a commendable effort to strike a balance between the thrill of driving and public safety. As the wheels of progress turn, it’s essential to remember that responsibility behind the wheel not only protects lives but also preserves the heart of the driving experience itself.