I offer this simple solution for reducing the number of accidents on our roads.
The current crop of ‘driver educators’ need to stop teaching their students just the basic skills needed to pass the current joke of a driving test – instead giving them the same workover as what is required by those wishing to hold a licence to operate a heavy vehicle in most states.
Why is it the NSW Workplace Health and Safety Act proclaims I need to attend an ‘induction’ – often over a few hours – and effectively prove I have a solid and substantial knowledge of the safety rules and regulations of a given site in order to work there? Answer: To protect not only myself but other people and the environment from harm. How is it then, that all I need do to get approval to singlehandedly end the life of another person is to:
– produce a diary (easily forged) to show I’ve spent a certain number of hours behind the wheel of a car under supervision of a fully licensed driver,
– prove I can read a few traffic signs,
– go for a ‘lap around the block’ to reverse park, indicate when I’m turning a corner, travel at the speed limit within a safe distance of other vehicles, and respect the road rules?
This ‘examination’ is a complete joke, with the average candidate in and out of the motor registry as a fully independent licence holder within 45 minutes!
To get my Class MR licence I had to take part in six hours tutoring, all whilst being thoroughly examined on my knowledge and skills with vehicle operations, how to handle emergency situations, completion of ‘log books’ et cetera. Most notably, I had to prove my ability to manoeuvre the vehicle safely throughout the road network, in differing traffic conditions, according to the rules and regulations of the road. Then, in order to get my Heavy Rigid truck licence I went through a similar level of testing, instruction and assessment. With that in mind, I believe the RMS need to cut out the one-off 20 minute ‘test’ for a car licence and replace it with no less than five one hour practical examination sessions, with a different qualified tutor/examiner for each session. The candidate will then need to get no less than a 95% ‘score’ from each examiner, before being awarded a Provisional licence with similar conditions to today’s ‘red P’ plater. This will undoubtedly make our roads safer by effectively eliminating the proliferation of new drivers who simply do not know how to operate a vehicle. In the meantime, penalties for all driving offences – including not holding a valid licence – should be increased by no less than 25% across the board. As for’Double Demerit’ periods? The scheme should be expanded to include more offences, and also the doubling of all associated penalties.
Want to reduce the road toll? Make getting a licence much more difficult, and more expensive, by making the testing of candidates more stringent. Then, let people know if they have proven they’re worthy of a licence to be in charge of a ‘lethal weapon’, their hip pocket will be stung hard and their ‘right to drive’ will be rescinded if they take that licence for granted!