By Andrew Rasch
Published: Wednesday, August 30, 2023
Next year, drivers of certain high-performance vehicles will need to complete additional driver training to comply with new South Australian licensing requirements. Although very few motorists will be affected by these new rules, here are the key details.
What are the new rules?
From 1 December 2024, anyone who drives an ultra high-powered vehicle (UHPV) in South Australia will need to qualify for the new ‘U-Class’ driver’s licence by completing an online course. When the new course is available, it’ll help prepare drivers of such vehicles for the greater risks they pose on the road.
Drivers will also face fines of up to $5000 if they deliberately disable their UHPV’s advanced driver-aid systems, such as anti-lock braking (ABS), traction control, and electronic stability control (ESC).
When the U-Class licence comes into effect, all UHPV drivers will need to complete the training, regardless of how long they’ve owned the car or their experience behind the wheel.
What is a UHPV?
South Australian authorities have defined UHPVs as having a power-to-weight ratio equal to or greater than 276kW per tonne (1000kg) and a gross vehicle mass of less than 4.5 tonnes. About 200 vehicle models will fall into this category, including so-called supercars like the Porsche 911 GT3 RS and the Ferrari 812 GTS. The rules won’t apply to buses and motorcycles.
Why are these changes being made?
The new regulations follow the tragic traffic-related death of young South Australian, Sophia Naismith, in 2019. According to the South Australian Government, the new regulations address what it felt were inadequate laws to deal with drivers whose conduct results in death or serious harm to other people.
As part of these changes, the State Government has also introduced new definitions and penalties for drivers causing death, with the maximum prison term for driving without due care increasing from 12 months to seven years.