A program to help young drivers on the road to safer driving has been backed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

ACCC Chairman, Professor Allan Fels, said today the ACCC had recently accepted a Mercantile Mutual Insurance (Australia) Ltd proposal to 'third-line force' young drivers insuring with it into an extended driving instruction program, the Roadsafe Drivers Club.

"The club will promote motor vehicle insurance with premium discounts and other benefits to young drivers or their parents if the young drivers undertake and pass approved driving courses.

"Under the Trade Practices Act it is illegal to force a product or service onto a purchaser who is buying another product. It is possible, however, to notify the ACCC of the intention to do so and, if the benefit to the public of the action is greater than its anti-competitive effect, the ACCC can grant immunity.

"The program was suggested by the North Sydney branch of the Rotary Club, in response to the high level of motor vehicle accidents involving young drivers - about 20 per cent.

"The aim of the program is to provide young drivers with the attitude and skills necessary for them to become and remain competent and responsible drivers.

"The program, to be trialled shortly, will offer instruction in driving and defensive driving under varying conditions. Each club member who completes all of the nominated driving courses will be given maximum rebates or discounts on insurance premiums, will attract a lower age excess on their policies and receive a quarterly newsletter reinforcing good driving habits."

"In considering the proposal, the ACCC felt that the public benefit easily outweighs the anti-competitive detriment and was pleased to back the program with notification."