Children will again be allowed to drive drag racing vehicles at Perth Motorplex, but the minimum age to participate has been increased from eight to 10 years old.
Sport and Recreation Minister Mick Murray suspended junior drag racing after eight-year-old Anita Board died in November 2017, two days after her eighth birthday while attempting for the first time to gain her junior drag racing licence.
She reached speeds up to 86km/h, before speeding up further once she had passed the finish line. She then tried unsuccessfully to turn the car towards the exit gate and crashed into a concrete barrier.
The state government suspended junior drag racing while the Coroner investigated the incident.
Coroner Sarah Linton said in her report the sport was inherently dangerous and she found it “difficult to come to terms with the idea of children being put at risk in this way”.
She made seven recommendations to improve safety around junior drag racing, but stopped short of recommending the minimum age for drag racing be raised.
The state government on Thursday stepped in and raised the age limit based on evidence given to the investigation by Road Safety Council Chairman Iain Cameron that the cognitive development of children under the age of 10 “does not allow them to judge and perceive speed and distance in the way that an adult can”.
The Coroner’s recommendations to improve safety have been implemented. She called for improvements to venue infrastructure, vehicle inspections and CCTV to record drivers’ movements.
She suggested young drag racers come to a complete stop after their race, before navigating to an exit gate and that finish markers be made more visible so children know when to stop.
She also recommended the introduction of more theory-based training and ‘slow driving’ practical assessments for junior dragsters before they are allowed to race; and installation of frontal head restraints in all junior vehicles.
The exploration of a cut-off device to be installed in junior drag cars was also suggested.
“All seven of Coroner Linton’s recommendations have been implemented by the relevant parties,” Mr Murray said.
“Further to this, the state government has increased the minimum age from eight to 10, and addressed five additional items from the report to further enhance safety.
“I would like to once again convey my deepest sympathies to the Board family as they continue to grieve the loss of Anita.” [WA Today]
ANDRA Release Here……………