A new car plate has been launched to help drivers who are returning to the road after a traumatic experience or prolonged absence.
The R plates are designed to indicate to other motorists that a driver should be given some extra space and treated with more care as they navigate the roads.
The initiative puts the mental health of drivers at the forefront and acknowledges the anxiety they may be feeling following trauma, an accident, injury or break from driving.
The return plates are not an officially sanctioned road item and as such have been linked to a baby on-board sticker.
They are being distributed by Australian service and repair company mycar, formerly Kmart Tyre and Auto, in a push to encourage more empathy on the roads.
“We care for those with physical injuries from a road incident, but we rarely consider the mental toll road trauma can take,” mycar said.
“The R plate signifies to other road users that the driver may need some extra care, giving them time and space to recover. Recovering drivers can confidently return to the road knowing they are in a supportive space.”
The initiative comes at a pertinent time with more motorists being involved in incidents or accidents while driving.
A survey from insurance group Budget Direct last year found 64 per cent of Australians aged 18 years or older and with a driver’s licence had been involved in at least one car accident.
Australian government department of transport data also found hospitalised crash injuries had increased.
From 2012 to 2018 (the latest data available) they rose by 16.2 per cent, with a quarter of those being high threat-to-life injuries.
University of Melbourne professor Jason Thompson, an expert in transportation safety and post-injury rehabilitation, said it was important to acknowledge what drivers could be going through.
“Returning to the road can be a scary and nerve-racking experience, so even just having those feelings recognised could help people to recover faster,” he said.
R plates can be ordered for free or printed at home through mycar.
Originally published as R plates launched to help drivers return to the road
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