New rules to come into effect for the state’s learner drivers

NEW RULES: Panorama Road Safety director Matt Irvine says changes to the state's P-plate laws are a sensible move to make drivers safe. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 110717cpplates1
NEW RULES: Panorama Road Safety director Matt Irvine says changes to the state's P-plate laws are a sensible move to make drivers safe. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 110717cpplates1

LEARNER drivers will soon have to pass a Hazard Perception Test before they progress to unsupervised driving.

The amendment, to come into effect on November 20, is the latest in a raft of licence changes introduced by the government last year, all aimed at keeping younger drivers safer on our roads.

Under the change, learners will have to complete the test on top of the practical on road driving test before progressing to unsupervised driving. P1 licence holders will no longer need to pass the Hazard Perception Test before progressing to a P2 Licence.

The latest changes follow on from those implemented in December 2016, which stated P2 holders must not use a mobile phone at all while driving or riding. P2 licence holders have the same mobile phone restrictions as Learner and P1 licence holders.

Matt Irvine from Panorama Road Safety welcomed the repositioning of the Hazard Perception Test.

He said for the past 17 years, drivers have had their red P-plates for 12 months before doing the test.

“The idea was within 12 months drivers should be able to measure the perception of response, but over time research has evolved and the standards expected for drivers has increased, and subsequently the test has been moved forward,” Mr Irvine said.

“Now the test must be done before you get the P1 licence.”

Mr Irvine said he was fine with the change and said the ability to identify risks was vital in preventing crashes. 

He said drivers in this demographic don’t typically come unstuck due to a lack of skill but rather risk identification.

“Crashes rarely happen when someone is turning it’s more they don’t know how to respond to a situation or where to look.

“We have [Panorama Driving] been dealing with stuff like this for decades, what hazards are and how to respond, it’s important,” he said.

Mr Irvine said as the system changes over people will need to be patient.

In other changes, the driver qualification test has been removed for P2 drivers and P2 drivers will have to stay on their licence for an extra six months if they receive a suspension for unsafe driving.