Help us make towing safer with a nationally recognised towing endorsement for drivers

Better training is at the core of creating better drivers, so let's start with one actionable element - towing. Help us implement a nationally recognised towing endorsement for Australian drivers' licences

Road safety is an issue that impacts nearly all Australians. For the 12 months leading up to 31 July 2023, the national toll stands at 1234, an 8 per cent increase on the previous period. While there are many theories as to what action can be taken to help stop this alarming trend, very few result in action.

At Drive we feel that driver attitude is a huge factor towards improving holistic road safety, and that by looking at one element of safer driving, we can start changing the way Australian drivers prepare themselves for the road.

We know that speed, alcohol, drugs and fatigue all contribute to fatalities on our roads, and not for a minute are we suggesting that enough has been done to combat these elements. We'd like to broaden the conversation to what we strongly believe is an overlooked area of driver education, one that is particularly relevant at a time when caravan and other trailer sales are at record highs

This is why we feel that implementing a nationally recognised towing endorsement for Australian drivers' licences is a crucial step on the path to safer driving for all Australians.

There is currently no required training or limit for towing with a full licence in Australia. This means you can have zero experience with an articulated vehicle and trailer combination, that is of a total mass limited only by the vehicle rating, and head out on the road, anywhere in Australia.

Correctly configured weights of both the tow vehicle and trailer are critical for safe towing, but there is no requirement for formal training of any kind for drivers to undertake before they tow.

While not all drivers engage in towing-related activities, a recent survey by Drive showed that 67 per cent of nearly 15,000 respondents felt that the implementation of a towing endorsement should be compulsory for all drivers towing a heavy (braked) trailer.

This does not solve the entirety of the road safety issue, but we at Drive feel this is an actionable step that will help create a more aware and responsible attitude for drivers on the road.

Help us turn thoughts and ideas into action, as we propose the implementation of a nationally recognised towing endorsement for Australian drivers' licences to the National Office of Road Safety.

You can join the petition now, or learn more about this proposal over the next few weeks as we look at what this endorsement may look like, how the training may be applied, and speak to industry experts about why this is a key step toward improving road safety for all drivers, not just those towing.

Share your thoughts as we work through this, and help us create some real action toward creating safer roads for everyone.

Drive Safer screens on Channel 9 on Sunday 24 September at 1pm. You can view the full program here or on 9Now.

James Ward

James has been part of the digital publishing landscape in Australia since 2002 and has worked within the automotive industry since 2007. He joined CarAdvice in 2013, left in 2017 to work with BMW and then returned at the end of 2019 to spearhead the content direction of Drive.

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