In a significant move aimed at enhancing road safety and regulating high-performance vehicles, Australia has introduced new legislation that mandates special U Class driver's licenses for drivers operating high-powered vehicles. These machines, often referred to as sports cars or supercars, are now also subject to stricter regulations to mitigate risks associated with their potentially dangerous power and performance.

The South Australian Government, at the forefront of this initiative, has revealed that approximately 270 drivers in the state will be required to secure the new U Class driver's license by December 1, 2024. To qualify for this license classification, individuals must complete an upcoming online training course specifically tailored to high-powered vehicles.

The course, slated for release early next year, will cover risk awareness, the utilization of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), and the safe operation of performance cars. All cars with a power-to-weight ratio equal to or exceeding 276 kilowatts per tonne (370 horsepower per 1,000 kilograms / 2,204 pounds) are included in the new law.

However, the legislation doesn't stop at license upgrades. The South Australia Government has also integrated measures to prevent the disabling of automated assist systems in performance vehicles. This move aims to ensure that crucial safety features such as anti-lock braking, automated emergency braking, electronic stability control, and traction control remain operational at all times.

Additionally, drivers who engage the sport mode of their supercars within built-up areas, resulting in fatalities or serious harm, will now face charges for an "aggravated offense" under the newly established laws. There are exceptions to the rules, though.

“It is also a defense if it was impracticable to drive with the automated intervention system enabled, as there are some circumstances where such systems should legitimately be turned off, like when a vehicle is bogged or being driven on loose surfaces,” Joe Szakacs, Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services, explained to CarExpert.

According to transport safety experts in the country, activating sport modes in supercars within urban environments can lead to enhanced responsiveness and power, factors that might contribute to unfortunate accidents. By introducing this legislation, the South Australia Government seeks to strike a balance between preserving the thrill of driving these high-performance vehicles and safeguarding public safety. 

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