Because big power is easier than ever to access, but a basic driver's license doesn't prepare you to handle it all.
In Australia three years ago, Sophia Naismith was struck and killed by a Lamborghini Huracan owned by Alexander Campbell. The Lambo driver was said to be under the speed limit at the time of the accident, but accelerating in a "harsh" and "deliberate" manner. The car drifted up onto the footpath the girl was walking on, killing her instantly.
In court, the driver of the crashed Lamborghini pleaded guilty to driving without due care but was acquitted of 'death by dangerous driving.' But the incident has had further ramifications as now, the South Australian government is calling for a new type of licensing requirement for owners of high-powered cars like the Huracan that killed Naismith, something which could set a global precedent.
"I think the verdict really highlighted the fact that, in most South Australians' minds, justice hasn't been done here," said Peter Malinauskas, Premier of the province of South Australia to ABC. "And where justice isn't done or isn't seen to be done, that raises the question of the need for law reform, and that's certainly what happened, and I want to respond quickly."
Malinauskas' office is now drafting new road safety laws for introduction into South Australia's parliament by the end of this year. Among them is the new licensing scheme. Reportedly, it will be loosely similar to the motorcycle and commercial driver's licenses we have here in the States.
Unfortunately, very few details about the license requirements are available now. It's likely owners of cars above a certain power threshold (i.e. 400 horsepower) would need to take additional driving safety courses and maybe even high-performance driving courses to fully understand the limits of their vehicles.
Additionally, the new regs will result in harsher penalties for drivers accused of killing someone in a similar circumstance. One such penalty will be the suspension of their license completely until such time as the case is resolved. To prevent such crashes, the proposal also wants to ban the disabling of traction control in high-powered vehicles.
"I believe it's the right thing to do, I think most of the community think it's the right thing to do," Malinauskas stated.
He's anticipating some resistance from the car community, however, as the licensing program would come into effect retrospectively. Owners of high-power cars would need to re-test to prove they are capable of piloting their cars effectively, which naturally won't go down very well among many.
As for Naismith's case, the SA Police and the Attorney-General have said they will explore adding a harsher penalty between driving without due care and death by dangerous driving, which Campbell was acquitted of.
Naismith's case aside, the addition of a more stringent licensing requirement is not a bad idea; not just in Australia but anywhere you can buy a high-powered car. It should take more than just a six-figure lump of cash to hop behind the wheel of a supercar or even a hypercar, and with EVs making incredible performance more accessible than ever in a family package, perhaps stricter licensing for cars over a certain power threshold isn't a bad idea.