Mike Stevens | Jul 13, 2010

Under contoversial new licence testing rules, Queenslanders sitting for their licence test can now exceed the speed limit by 5km/h, up to five times, before failing.

The new testing rules, some of which seem remarkably tolerant of poor driving practice, replace a system which was arguably even more tolerant of driver lapses. Currently, a person sitting the test can exceed the speed limit by up to ten percent a maximum of three times, before failing.

While Premier Anna Bligh describes the test as "tougher" than current testing rules, predictably, not all agree.

Speaking with ABC News, Queensland Opposition Leader John-Paul Langbroek said that the new testing criteria is bound to send the wrong message to young motorists.

"Clearly this is a conflicting message where Premier Anna Bligh and Rachel Nolan are saying one thing - that we shouldn't be speeding, but on the other hand, are allowing young drivers to speed up to five times," Mr Langbroek said.

The new rules will also see examinees allowed six instances each of stalling, steering with one hand, and failing to indicate. A person sitting the test unable to start the engine more than five times will receive a fail mark. (Unable to start the car? And up to five times?)

Independent Driving Instructors Guild Vice President, Milton Kolas told Fairfax today that the new rules would likely lead to more fail marks rather than passes.

Mr Kolas said that 'critical' or dangerous driving errors - stalling in the middle of an intersection rather than in a quiet side-street, for example - would still result in an automatic fail.

The Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety Queensland's Professor Barry Watson said that while some scope for tolerance in a driving test should be allowed, they should be kept to a minimum.

"If the tolerance is too high people might learn the wrong lesson from the test. The wider concern is if the public perception is it doesn't matter if you speed on your test," Prof Watson told News Ltd.

Queensland's Transport Minister, Rachel Nolan, is expected to comment on the issue later today.

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