The government promised a ‘get tough’ approach to driving after eight deaths on Queensland roads over the Easter long weekend, which is partly responsible for a road toll currently 13 fatalities higher than at the same time last year (for a total of 111).
A new system for learners will place more emphasis on speed - in more ways than one - and less on the skills once deemed essential for leaners to progress to a provisional licence.
Learners have been told that three-point turns, hill starts and reverse parking skills are now less important than they once were, however drivers exceeding the speed limit by just 1km/h at any stage during the assessment process will be instantly failed.
Learners will also now be tested in ‘high speed’ highway situations. The new approach is to determine the learner-driver's ability to safely travel at highway speeds without exceeding the limit, and to also maintain a safe following distance from traffic in front.
“No one dies doing a reverse park, but people do die [when not assessed on] higher speed driving,” a government spokesman said.
Under this new approach, learners will also now be required to prove they can safely merge onto a motorway without exceeding the speed limit.
They must also prove they can safely negotiate a turn at an intersection in front of oncoming traffic approaching at highway speeds.
“Too many young drivers are killed on our roads, and we are acting to make the next generation of motorists more skilled at handling dangerous situations,” Roads Minister Mark Bailey said.
“Driving tests will focus more on potentially fatal traffic hazards and less on parking manoeuvres.”
The new system comes into place from June 29.
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