Learner drivers will face a tougher test to get their Queensland licences from June 29. Learner drivers will face a tougher test to get their Queensland licences from June 29. Photo: Simon O’Dwyer
The road from L- to P-plates will be made more challenging from this month as the state government attempts to prevent more young deaths on Queensland roads.
But the LNP opposition has demanded credit for the move, saying the Newman government had started the process three years ago and accused Labor of plagiarising its ideas.
However, a Bligh Labor government discussion paper released in 2011 foreshadowed many of the changes.
Road Safety Minister Mark Bailey said the new Q-SAFE practical driving test, which would shift more focus towards potentially dangerous situations, would make it harder for learner-drivers to get their drivers’ licences.
Under the Q-SAFE system, learner-drivers would be tested on merging lanes at higher speeds and safely turning across oncoming traffic.
“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,” Mr Bailey said.
“Driving tests will focus more on potentially fatal traffic hazards and less on parking manoeuvres.”
Mr Bailey said there would also be “zero tolerance” for speeding.
“Speeding is responsible for one in five road deaths so there will be absolutely no excuses if you drive with reckless disregard for others on Queensland roads,” he said.
“Learner drivers will also be tested on safe following distances and response times to dangerous situations.”
As of Sunday morning, the state’s 2015 road toll stood at 111, up from 98 at the same time in 2014.
The state opposition welcomed the proposal, but at the same time blasted the government for doing what the LNP would have done had it not lost the 2015 state election.
Opposition transport spokesman Andrew Powell said the Newman government first flagged the changes in 2012 and had introduced pilot programs across the state last year.
Mr Powell accused the Palaszczuk government of “blatant plagiarism”.
“In 2012, then-minister Scott Emerson outlined the LNP’s plan to overhaul Queensland driving tests for the first time in more than a decade,” he said.
“We then underwent extensive public consultation before introducing a hugely successful pilot program to test the changes at seven sites across Queensland.
“For minister Mark Bailey to try and claim credit for yet another LNP initiative goes to show that this Labor government has no plan, no policies and no ideas of its own.”
The 2011 Bligh-era discussion paper recommended competency-based tests that would go beyond basic skills and look at higher-order safe driving abilities, including planning ahead and anticipating risks and hazards.
“In a competency-based test, the driving examiner will watch and assess a candidate’s skills, looking for evidence of observing other traffic and road users, identifying potential hazards and driving accordingly, planning ahead and making safe decisions,” it said.
The new Q-SAFE practical driving test was set to be introduced across Queensland on Monday, June 29.
RACQ spokesman Joe Fitzgerald said the government had been consultative in its approach and the motor club was happy with the outcome.
“We’re pleased this is the next step in making sure drivers remain safe,” he said.
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