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Blue R plate aims to encourage empathy among road users for 'returning' drivers

A vehicle service and repair company has launched a blue "R plate" to identify drivers who are returning to the road after having an accident, suffering a road trauma, or after a long break from driving.

Mycar Tyre & Auto says the scheme - in which you can download the blue plate from online - is aimed at encouraging "empathy" from other road users.

The aim of the blue plate is to flag to other drivers that those who show the blue plate need more care and space on the road.

It's an unofficial scheme and does not need official endorsement from state or territory authorities but the company is urging people to sign an online pledge to have R plates adopted and recognised nationwide.

In its promotional video for the plates which it described as a "people first initiative", the company poses the question: "How can we care for other people if we can't see their pain?"

An expert in transportation safety, University of Melbourne professor Jason Thompson, 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.

National road trauma data has been difficult to accurately track in a timely manner because hospital and crash data is recorded in different ways across all states and territories.

Hospital data does not provide information about the crash, which is needed to target road safety measures, and police-provided crash data does not give the medical assessment of injury severity, nor does it include serious injuries that have not been reported to police.

Transportation policy advice agency Austroads is working on finding a project to deliver more accurate data because the national 2021-2030 road safety strategy has the stated goal of reducing serious injuries across the road network by 30 per cent in the next eight years.

To the end of August this year, ACT police recorded 154 road crashes which resulted in injury. So far this year 12 people have been killed on ACT roads, the most since 2015.

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