‘Keep learner drivers in car’ for essential travel
LEARNER drivers ready for their Ps test could wait at least three months to go for their licence.
Kingaroy learner driver Kyla Munro already had her hours approved and a test booked for April 8 when the Department of Transport suspended all driving tests to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
"I was pretty upset, I'd worked really hard to smash it out," she said.
"I was doing two hours of lessons a week and spending a chunk of my pay check."
Miss Munro understands the decision was best for the safety of both learners and driving instructors.
She was waiting to gain her provisional licence before moving to live with her sister at the Gold Coast.
"I was really hoping to get my Ps before it all got shut down," she said.
"I had everything down pat and pumped up for the test."
Miss Munro plans to volunteer to drive for essential trips like grocery shopping so she maintains her driving skills.
South Burnett driving instructor Jason Dugdell said he had at least 20 students almost ready for their test.
The Dugies Driver Training owner said this period of restricted travel will hinder the learner drivers.
"Just the sheer fact they're not getting that valuable experience," Mr Dugdell said.
"It's the practice and the repetition -when people aren't driving regularly they tend to go backwards in their skills and capability.
"They'll quite possibly need some refreshing."
He encouraged learner drivers to keep practising their driving.
"Keep the learner driver in the car as much as possible, but it is difficult when we can only do essential travel," Mr Dugdell said.
"They can't be just going for a drive, they must be going to work or to the shops."
All Queensland driving schools have gone into hibernation as they could not maintain the 1.5 social distancing in the cars.
Mr Dugdell said at this point the tests were expected to restart around July this year.
He has continued to guide his students through putting together instructional videos on manoeuvres like three point turns and parallel parks.
"Just putting together what we teach in the car, but doing it online," Mr Dugdell said.
RACQ spokesperson Paul Turner said the Department of Transport and Main Roads confirmed that learner drivers could venture out for the purpose of accuring their hours in their local area only.
"After seeking clarification from DTMR, the advice is that Learner drivers can go out and get their hours up, but they must stay in their local area," he said.
"This doesn't mean you can take a big road trip or travel too far away from home, as you could still be fined $1300 by police, unless it's essential travel."