Lead foots to pass road exams

Learner driver Anna Hanlon gets lessons from driving instructor Mal Gear of Gold Town Driving School.
Learner driver Anna Hanlon gets lessons from driving instructor Mal Gear of Gold Town Driving School. Craig Warhurst

GYMPIE driving instructor Mal Gear is not alone in saying new examination criteria allowing learner drivers to speed up to five times during their driving test will send the wrong message to young motorists.

The new criteria, which will come into effect on Monday, permits learner drivers to travel up to 5kmh over the speed limit five times during the 30-minute test.

At present and in the four years Mr Gear has been teaching people to drive, examinees have been allowed to exceed the speed limit by up to 10 per cent of the speed limit but anything over is an immediate fail.

“In places like Gympie it happens because it is so hilly. Every now and then (the speed) will creep over but five times is too (often),” Mr Gear said.

“This sends a message to new drivers that you can go over the speed limit a little bit every time.”

Under the current rules, learner drivers are also able to pass the test if they fail to indicate six times, or stall the car six times. Mr Gear said the seventh time is an immediate fail.

He said drivers sitting for their C-class driving test were permitted eight accumulated non-critical driving errors or one error repeated six times before failure.

Mr Gear agreed the examination criteria contradicted the government’s anti-speeding campaign Slow down stupid, which replaced the previous campaign, Every K over is a killer.

But Premier Anna Bligh insists the new test is tougher than the current one. She said that currently examiners would tolerate students going up to 10 per cent beyond the speed limit and that would come down under the new test rules.

“That will be tightened to anything under five kilometres. If you hit five kilometres and over, then that will be regarded as an error in your driving test,” she said.

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