All aspects of learner driver licensing will be put under the microscope including the state’s mandatory 100 hours of supervised driving.
Queensland learner permit holders’ mandatory 100 hours of supervised driving will be scrutinised as part of a thorough review of the learner licensing program, reports the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
The review, the first since 2017, will be undertaken by the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) and will examine every aspect of Queensland’s learner driver process, including its Graduated Licensing System (GLS) introduced in 1999.
“It is therefore timely for TMR to undertake a review of all the components of the GLS, especially given the emergence of new technology and changing community needs and expectations following the COVID-19 pandemic,” a department spokesperson told the ABC.
TMR says it will work with young drivers – who are overrepresented in crash statistics – as well as advocacy groups, parents and supervisors among other bodies as part of the review, which it aims to complete in late 2024.
The review’s goal is to determine if there are more effective ways to prepare young drivers, given the overrepresentation of 16 to 24-year-olds in the state’s road toll.
Queensland has the second-highest year-to-date road toll in Australia, recording the same number of fatalities (215) as Victoria, behind New South Wales on 269 at the end of September, according to the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE). According to TMR, young drivers make up 14 per cent of Queensland’s licence holders yet account for 24.9 per cent of the state’s road fatalities.
The current regulations in Queensland mandate learner drivers under the age of 25 must record 100 hours of supervised driving – which was introduced in 2007 – including 10 hours of night driving, to be eligible for a P1 licence.
If using a professional instructor, the first ten hours under their supervision count as 30 hours towards the total, reducing the actual total to 80 hours.
In 2018, the online PrepL program was launched for both learner drivers and their supervisors, which TMR explains on its website as “an alternative to the road rules test and is designed to improve learner driver education by focusing on developing safe behaviour and attitudes.”
Queensland also introduced a digital licensing system for Apple and Android phones in November 2023, after South Australia in 2017 – the first Australian state to digitise licences – and New South Wales in 2019.