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Tough new laws for learner drivers roll out Monday

HITTING THE ROAD: Jessie Blick passed his provisional licence test three days before the tough new rules come in.
HITTING THE ROAD: Jessie Blick passed his provisional licence test three days before the tough new rules come in. Paul Braven

YOUR child has almost a 50-50 chance of failing Queensland's tough new driving test - and you will pay up to $230 each time they re-sit the exam.

The new test, which rolls out across the state on Monday, focuses on dangerous manoeuvres including right-hand turns and high-speed merging.

There will also be a zero tolerance on speeding - currently you can go 4kmh over the limit - and the testing routes are likely to include major thoroughfares such as highways.

While the emphasis is no longer on standard procedures, things like reverse parking and three-point turns will be surprise add ons.

Jessie Blick was one of the lucky ones who managed to book his driving test three days before the changes take effect.

Yesterday, after driving on L-Plates for almost two years, the 17-year-old fitter and turner apprentice finally got his provisional licence.

We had a look at Jessie's examination sheet after his test. He had only two crosses - one for not shoulder checking and another for road positioning.

Neither of those errors will be immediate fails under the new system either.

"I'm not sure about the changes. While it's good to know how to drive at speed, you still need to park well when you get to your

location," he said. "I was expecting (the instructor) to ask me to do a reverse park. That's what I've been practicing," he said.

Jessie's mum Dyan said she thought the tougher test would be good.

"As a parent you need to know if they are safe and competent drivers so if they fail for not being aware of their surroundings, they obviously need more practice," she said.

But the changes have not been welcomed by everyone.

One mum labelled it a "thieving racket" after her son failed the practical exam twice during last year's pilot. APN Newsdesk can reveal 42% of learners did not pass the new

Q-SAFE test during the trials on the Darling Downs and in Brisbane.

This compares to 37% under the current system.

Parents can expect to dig deep if their kids fail to pass. Learners will pay $50.50 each time they sit the test and a further $150-$170 for a licensed instructor to ride along.

Mother Liz Johnson said her son failed the pilot test twice, costing the Warwick family $450.

"Well don't get me started - after two goes at the driving test my son got it," she wrote on an APN Australian Regional Media Facebook site.

"Was a day off work, lost money for not working, had to rent the learner driver's car and a lesson again costing money neatly all the way through the test he failed.

"So had to push my learner again ... and we had to wait 14 days for (the) next appointment .... $450 all up.

"He succeeded on second attempt. Just a money thieving racket."

- APN NEWSDESK

WHAT TO EXPECT

From June 29, learner drivers sitting the new Q-SAFE practical driving test can expect the following:

A zero-tolerance approach to speeding

Increasing significance placed on not maintaining an appropriate following distance

A greater emphasis on hazard perception

New driving situations such as a high-speed merge or entering a high-speed area

A greater emphasis on providing meaningful feedback to the candidate at the end of the test

Source: Queensland Government

Topics:  editors picks laws learner driver queensland



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