‘Massive backlog’: when learner driver tests will open up

A "MASSIVE backlog" of learner driver tests will take months to clear, according to the owner of an Ipswich driving school.

Learner drivers are able to sit for their P-plates again after a three-month COVID-19 enforced suspension on driving tests was lifted on June 15.

Transport Minister Mark Bailey said tests are being conducted six days a week to catch up on the number of learner drivers whose tests were suspended.

A booking process was introduced to prioritise those who had their tests suspended due to the pandemic and learner drivers who urgently needed their P-plates for "economic, health and jobs" reasons.

Ipswich Pro Drive owner Dave Cullen said if you hadn't already booked in a test before the suspension, expect a very long wait.

"If they didn't have one booked prior to COVID-19, they still can't get a car test," he said.

"There's a massive backlog. They're trying to get that out of the way then there's going to be another backlog.

"I reckon it will take six to 12 months to clear. There's a three-month backlog of tests. We're three months behind now.

"Before the COVID-19 shutdown it was four to six weeks to get a test."

Mr Cullen lamented the way some motorists were behaving towards learner drivers since the start of the pandemic, with his instructors noticing a rise in reckless driving on the roads.

"We're getting screamed and yelled at," he said.

"What do you do?

"Everyone is just so agro."

Mr Cullen believed the general standard of driving had gone down in recent years.

He has pushed the State Government to make tests results for every driving school public but was told it was a breach of privacy.

"How can we today, have the same road toll or a very similar road toll that we've had for the last 25 years when we've got better roads, safer cars, better lighting and more alert systems and procedures in the vehicles?" he said

"It's a systemic problem. It starts with the driving school. It starts with us.

"As a whole, the driving ability of a lot of people is not as good as they think it is."

In Queensland, the total number of road fatalities sits at 119 for the year so far.

"The assessment criteria, I think, is too low," Mr Cullen said.

"Cars are doing it all for them so they're learning less and less and less. The ability is not there.

"Everyone says slow down and people think its about slowing down your speed. But you need to slow down and look. Look more.

"We shouldn't have the road toll that we've got."

Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.



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