Mycar, an Australian service and repair company, has launched new R plates, also known as “return” plates, to aid drivers who are returning to driving after being involved in a road accident or suffered some form of road trauma.
The special plates are to assist drivers who are in need of recovery from either physical or mental trauma related to a Australian road incident. They are aware that physical injuries can be seen, but not the psychological damage that can be caused. The plates will be a sign to other drivers that the person behind the wheel needs additional patience and understanding while they heal.
The introduction of the new Australian R plates has been met with both enthusiasm and criticism. Dave Motoring, a motoring enthusiast on TikTok, made a video in support of the campaign, encouraging people to give those with the plates extra space. However, not all are convinced of the idea.
Mycar refers to a Pureprofile survey of 1000 individuals conducted in August of this year, which discovered that roughly three-quarters of Australians had experienced a road incident, with 21% taking between two to at least six months to regain their confidence in driving. The expectation for R Plates is that they will elicit empathy from other drivers who notice them on a car, resulting in a decrease in pressure for returning drivers behind the wheel. The same survey revealed that 66% of Australians felt safer when they had visible ‘L’ or ‘P’ plates on their cars while learning to drive, and 68% believed that other drivers would give them more space.
Dr. Jason Thompson, an Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne and an expert in transportation and post-injury rehabilitation, highlights the commonly ignored psychological impact of road accidents by road users. According to him, while people often discuss the physical injuries associated with car accidents, they tend to overlook the psychological trauma that comes with the experience. Confidence is unique and the journey towards recovery and restoration of confidence is distinct for every individual and may take considerable time.
According to Thompson, he endorses the utilisation of R Plates, saying that “coming back to driving can be a frightening and anxious experience, so the mere recognition of these feelings could aid in people’s recuperation.” The plates are also equipped with a QR code that leads to support services. Although not yet endorsed by a government regulator, the mycar Tyro & Auto initiative urges drivers to petition for official backing.
To get your R plates, you simply need to go to Return Plates – A plate to recognise drivers returning to the road (mycar.com.au) and order the plates.
At present, the R Plates can be considered similar to opting to exhibit a “Baby on Board” sign on the rear window of a vehicle.
Conversely, drivers holding learner or provisional licenses must display their ‘L’ or ‘P’ plates conspicuously on both the front and rear of their vehicle, with the letter on the plate kept visible and unobstructed. Failing to exhibit ‘P’ or ‘L’ plates, as required, will lead to an immediate fine of $275 and a deduction of two demerit points. Under Regulation 119(1) of the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Regulation 2017 (NSW), a maximum penalty of $2,200 and a conviction may apply. Similarly, not displaying ‘L’ plates as required also results in an on-the-spot fine of $275 and 2 demerit points. Regulation 15(1)(b) provides for a maximum penalty of $2,200 and a conviction if a penalty infringement notice for the offence is chosen to be heard in the Local Court.
If you have received such a fine, you may represent yourself in court. However, regardless of whether it’s a minor traffic violation or a severe offence, it’s crucial to consider carefully if you’re capable of representing yourself adequately in court. It’s recommended that you seek the assistance of a criminal defence lawyer and obtain free legal advice before making any decisions or appearing in court.