These plates are made for people who are returning to the road after experiencing traumatic accidents.
Driving after experiencing traumatic events can be risky and life-threatening. According to the National Library of Medicine, people who experience a road accident are "at increased risk for psychological problems, particularly post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)." For those people, extra awareness from other drivers would be a benefit. Now, Australian drivers will have a choice of displaying a specially designed "R" plate on their car to alert other motorists that they need more room and consideration on the road.
Mycar, the company behind the launch, writes on its website: "We care for those with physical injuries from a road incident, but we rarely consider the mental toll road trauma can take." It added, "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."
People using the "R" plate will feel less pressure while returning to driving and also gain empathy from other drivers on the roads. This can avoid accidents and help people deal with the trauma associated with accidents.
The new "R" plate features a QR code that directs to local and national professional support services in addition to being shown on the car, according to 7 News. According to Dr. Jason Thompson of the University of Melbourne, the program recognizes a crucial concern on Australian roadways. "The journey through to recovery, and a return to confidence, is unique to each individual and often takes time," he said. "Returning to the road can be a scary and a nerve-wracking experience, so even just having those feelings recognized could help people in their recovery."
The return plates are not an officially sanctioned road item, they have been linked to a baby on-board sticker, per news.com.au. They are being supplied by Mycar in an effort to inspire more empathy on the roads. The company will mail the signs upon registration or they can be easily printed at home.
Australian motorists who are returning to the road after traumatic experiences can now order an 'R' plate to signal to other drivers they require extra patience on roads.— 10 News First Queensland (@10NewsFirstQLD) October 4, 2022
Similar to an 'L' or 'Baby On Board' plate, these signs signify the driver needs extra care and support. pic.twitter.com/1sUCMadQKy
The initiative comes at a crucial time when the number of road accidents has been increasing in Australia. According to a 1,000-person poll performed by Pureprofile in August of this year, around three-quarters of Australians had been affected by a traffic incident, reported Perth Now. Of those, 21% needed at least six months to feel comfortable driving again. According to the report, 66% of Australians felt safer having prominent L or P plates on their car when learning to drive because other drivers would give them more room. According to a Budget Direct poll conducted last year, 64% of Australians aged 18 and above with a driver's license had been involved in at least one automobile accident. Similarly, according to data from the Australian government's department of transport, hospitalized collision injuries have also grown. Mycar Tyro & Auto is not yet supported by a government regulator, and the firm is encouraging drivers to petition for this to happen.