Driving test toughened

TRANSPORT Minister Rachel Nolan has stopped new driving test criteria, that would have seen learner drivers allowed to speed up to 5kmh over the speed limit up to five times during a practical driving test, in its tracks.

A Gympie driving instructor yesterday said the relaxed rule, which was to be brought in on Monday, was sending the wrong message to motorists. Ms Nolan instructed the Department of Transport and Main Roads to change driver testing rules in favour of a tougher “three-strikes-and-you’re-out” policy Tuesday afternoon.

“I want to send a clear, consistent message to the community. Speeding is a serious contributor to the road toll and learner drivers need to understand this.”

The current driver testing regime only lets instructors record three low-level, ‘non-critical’ speeding errors - anything less than 10 per cent above the limit. Once a learner reached three of these, further errors are not recorded. Under the current system, anything 10 per cent or more over the limit is an automatic fail.

“Clearly a testing regime that only records non-critical, three speeding errors when there may have been many more needs to be improved. There needed to be a better system but I think the proposed changes still weren’t clear enough.”

Learners will automatically fail the driving test if they exceed the speed limit by more than 4km. The new system will reduce the tolerance from a standard 10 per cent to a maximum of 4km over the limit. Driving instructors also advised some flexibility was needed to allow for anxious learners who are nervous at the start of their first test.

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