An Australian state will soon require drivers of powerful cars to get a special license.
South Australia has introduced a new class of driver’s license for “ultra high-powered vehicles,” which goes into effect Dec. 1, 2024, according to Australian car news site Drive. Called “U class,” the new license category was added through an amendment to South Australia’s motor vehicle regulations in late 2022, but officials only recently confirmed the date for implementation.
Stemming from the death of 15-year-old Sophia Naismith, who was struck and killed by a driver in a Lamborghini Huracán in 2019, the special license will be required for cars with a power-to-weight ratio of at least 370 hp per metric ton (1.1 U.S. tons) and weighing less than 9,900 pounds. That’s expected to include around 200 models, while buses and motorcycles are exempt, according to Drive. That means a Huracán will require the special license, but a BMW M3 won’t, the website noted.
Those seeking to get a U-class license will need to take an online training course currently in development, according to the report. The course will focus on the risks associated with driving a high-powered vehicle, and familiarization with features like driver-assist systems.
Drivers in South Australia can also now be fined up to $5,000 Australian (equivalent to $3,290 U.S. at current exchange rates) if they deliberately disable any “automated intervention system” on a high-powered vehicle, including anti-lock brakes, automatic emergency braking, stability control, and traction control. The South Australian government has also upped penalties, with the maximum for “driving without due care” and causing a death increased from 12 months to seven years in prison, according to Drive.
In the U.S., a commercial driver’s license (CDL) is required for larger commercial vehicles, but a special license based on a vehicle’s power is unheard of. Legislators are getting creative in their efforts to cut down on speeding, however, as New York State is now considering a bill that would mandate speed governors in the cars of serial speed-limit violators.
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