New Course for Learner Drivers

Learner Driver

LEARN SMART: Just in case you missed the recent news on the new course for learners, which will give a reduction in logbook hours, here is the latest info.

We’ve had a huge response from Members since we posted on our site and Facebook page that from the 1 July 2013 learners will be able to complete a Safer Drivers Course and get a reduction in logbook hours.

Just in case you missed it, here is the latest information.

What does the Course involve?

The Safer Drivers Course is a combined theoretical and practical course. It will involve a facilitated group session discussing how to manage risks on the road and tailored in-car coaching addressing individual learning needs.

All up the course will take about five hours. The group session will run for two to three hours and the in-car coaching will be one to two hours.

The NRMA provided advice to the NSW Government Advisory Panel that developed the Course.

Do I still need to do 120 logbook hours?

Once you have done the Course your logbook hours reduce by 20 hours.

If you do the Course and do 10 hours of professional driving lessons your logbook hours go down to 80.

How much will it cost?

At this stage, we don’t know exactly how much it will cost to do the Course but the NSW Government has said the price will be affordable.

When will it be available?

The first group of learner drivers will do the course in July 2013. The Course will then be rolled out in NSW based on demand and provider availability.

What else has changed?

From 1 July 2013, learner drivers will be allowed to drive up to 90km/h instead of 80km/h. This will make sure that learners are supervised the first time they drive at 90km/h.

What do you think? Do you agree with these changes?

56 thoughts on “New Course for Learner Drivers

  1. I believe that offering a deduction in logbook hours if a Learner driver does an intensive driving course followed by professional driving instruction is a positive way of encouraging Learners to become safer drivers by learning some defensive driving techniques followed by professional supervision whilst learning to drive, hopefully this will contribute to a decline in the road toll of younger people and lead to a respect for the responsibility they have behind the wheel for themselves and other sharing the road.

    I however do not feel that increasing the speed limit to 90 is a positive thing to do when someone is learning to handle a car surely 80 is fast enough.

    • have just driven 840klms over the past weekend @ 8o ks with my Grandson & all i can say is bring on the 90k limit. i found that he was most concerned with a perceived notion that he was holding up the following traffic so much, that he spent more time looking for somewhere to pull over, than paying attention to the road

      • The increase in speed limit is a good thing, I agree with your comments about the kids worrying about holding up traffic. And if they are holding up traffic, crazy drivers do all sorts of things to get past! Rather than the learners doing a course why not others, I am horrified with what people do to learner drivers. Its like someone turns on a stupid sign when they see an L plate displayed.

      • yeah i think the raise in speed limit is one of the best points in this. I drove from Newcastle to Broome on my L’s and found it alot safer doing 90-95km\h especially when road trains are flying up behind you doing 110km\h.

    • Yes, 80 is fast enough if you also teach your learner driver courtesy. I travel for more than an hour each way to get to work in Canberra and then home. The Barton Highway is a death trap – why? The learner driver travelling at 80 klms p/h on the 100 klm p/h road in peak hour; in the last year I have almost seen three major accidents as frustrated drivers try to overtake. I accept that parents want to ensure that their learner driver knows how to drive in peak hour between Yass and Canberra, I also accept that the learner driver must obey their speed limit of 80 klms p/h. What I don’t accept is parents who don’t teach their children what that rear view mirror is for – it is not there to check your hair or your make-up or whether you have snot hanging from your nose, it is there for you to observe the traffic behind you. When you can see 15, 20, 30 cars banked up behind you – teach your learner to do the courteous thing and pull over, let them pass, then pull out again. I have only seen learners do this twice in the last year while driving this road. My 21 year old son, who is now off his Ps, still does this when he sees cars banking up behind him and he doesn’t want to feel pressured to drive faster. Your learner too should be taught how to take the pressure off, not only other drivers, but also themselves in this situation. I, for one, will be happy to see the increase to 90 klms p/h.

    • I totally agree with the no need to put speed limit up. On the one hand they are encouraging them to take a safe driving course and then they are allowing them with all the experience they don’t have to drive faster? Doesn’t make sense to me!!

  2. Too late for us! We had twins to complete 120 hours EACH, the second child only getting her licence in January this year after 2 1/2 YEARS of logbooking.
    Wonderful to have the safe drivers course but such a long time coming. It was suggested when our kids STARTED on their Ls.
    So many other parents fudging hours. We wouldn’t do it, and so the price of that was a VERY LONG HAUL.
    I got my licence after only 3 months on Ls.
    My father practised driving for only ONE DAY and got his licence the very next day back in 1944.He’s 88 now and never had an accident.

  3. I like the idea of Safer Driving Course and that it reduces the hours needed for log book.

    I don’t like the 90 kph increase. 80 is fast enough. I’ve always thought that there should be a ‘P’ plate that is, say yellow , for when ‘P’ platers are in their first month of driving by themselves. It’s a big leap from being an “L Plater” one day and then a “P Plater the next day. People on the road have no idea if a driver has been driving for one day or one year on their own.

  4. Why don’t we do something sensible and safe for our learner drivers? Something like letting them drive at the posted speed limit on highways? How often have we read of the danger posed by older, slow drivers travelling 20km/hr under the speed limit on our highways? And yet, by law, we create the same dangerous situation by forcing our Learners to travel 20 or 30 km/hr under the speed limit? And then, rather than bow to the unfounded lobby group and knee-jerk political reactions that gave us ludricoius learner hours and restrictions, let us give them sensible, acheivable learning hour requirements. Surely, if a person can’t learn to safely drive after 50 hours in a modern car, should we ever consider them worthy of holding a licence?
    I do not support anyone, of any age group or gender, driving at excessive speed or dangerously, or in an unsafe car.
    I do believe we have to spend the 16 years our kids as passengers in our cars showing them how we drive safely and responsibly. This is probably the most important thing we can teach them. If we spend 16 years showing them how to drive badly, we cannot expect them to be any better.
    I belive common sense will make our roads safer. Draconian, unfounded restrictions will never acheive safer roads.

    • I agree with David. Let supervised learner drivers drive at the sign posted limit. Reducing the speed difference between them and the main flow of traffic should make it easier for the driver and supervisor. It will also provide opportunities for the supervisor to teach responsible and courteous driving at speed on highways and freeways.
      My second child has just started to drive. She is not yet competent to drive on a freeway but one day she will be and I wish I could be there to teach her how to drive safely at 110km/h before she was on her own.

  5. It is encouraging to see some common sense applied to a flawed licensing system. I trust that this is a step toward better driver training that currently feels like training for driving at 50km/h and parking a car in the gutter.

  6. Requiring learner driver to sit behind the wheel of a car for 2000 hours does NOT teach them to drive. Requiring learner drivers to pass an advanced driver training course teaches driver to react safely to various situations that would not normally be faced. Requiring learner driver to sit behind the wheel of a car for 2000 hours causes licensed driver to suffer from the frustrations of having to follow a learner for hours on some our less than perfect roads. Collisions between objects can only occur in one or both of two ways, 1 objects travelling in different directions & 2 objects travelling in the same direction at different speeds. It is about time that the powers that be eliminated one of these causes. The experts in motor racing decided many years ago that the V8 supercars needed to be separated from the slower categories of racers at Bathurst for this reason. Also, roads are built for cars, cyclists are organ doners

    • nice analogy with the V8s phil !
      yet i still see plenty of accidents

      practical experience is the best teacher but how to do it safely and effectively is the million dollar question.

    • Phil, this is an unfortunate point of view, and MIGHT point to the problem that is at the heart of this issue. We are not able to be patient, we are always in a rush, and bicycles are slow. They have, in fact, under the law, the same rights (and obligations) as motor vehicles. They are only unsafe if drivers of motor vehicles don’t accord them some respect and courtesy.

      • Cyclists also need to show vehicles some respect. Many times they pull out where a car would’ve had to stop or they go ahead ta a roundabout ehre cars leave room for the trucks to take both lanes. My truckie husband (who has received an award for courteous driving) gets very frustrated by cyclists because they don’t respect his truuck’s size( and therefore how much road he actually needs) and the fact that it very hard to slow a huge truck down at a moments notice yet if he hit one everyone would blame him. Since the cyclists demand the same rights as cars they should obey the same rules. Riding single file and using cyclist tracks if availables should be made mandatory, then there would be less cyclists donating organs.

  7. It sounds like a good idea. How about the learners being restricted to 80 k/h for the say first 30 or so hours to let them get some experience before the higher speed can be driven at. Also dose the course teach how to correct a scid ect ?

  8. Sounds good but should be part of the log book requirement including 10 hours of manual car training. Dual controls need to be used until 10 hours of basic training before handing it over to Mum & Dad as I have seen some nasty accidents while learning causing shock & damaged to both cars & learners. Driving school could offer big discounts on a 10 hour package deal. Invest in your kids safety.

  9. I have just had one of our children get his Ps, and our other child will get her Ls early in 2014. These changes are welcomed. The emphasis on a Safer Driving Course will be useful – even if it is just repeating what Mum/Dad has taught – teenagers often accept advice from others that they will not accept from parents.

    The increase in speed limit to 90 kmh is overdue – it was silly to expect a teenager to to be able to cope with driving at 90 kmh on their own when they have never driven at more than 80 kmh with a supervisor alongside. It was too much of an increase.

  10. Long overdue! I sent both my daughters on safe driving courses, AFTER they had already obtained their licences. Had they done them as learners, I would have had to accompany them. They both found it enormously beneficial and took away from the course skills that we were not able to teach them (on public roads). One daughter even found it necessary to put them into practice on the way home from the course!
    It’s a sad fact of life that as a driver, you (all too frequently) have to anticipate stupid, thoughtless behaviour from other drivers, and build defensive strategies into your driving style. Learning this sooner is better than (our teenagers paying for it) later.
    This type of course should have been mandatory years ago.

  11. As always there is a need for integrity. This comes from the older adult refusing to compromise on the requirements of the log book system as well as the Learner driver not trying to take a short cut.
    I have found in life when others held the line fairly that I personally learned a lesson that stayed with me for the rest of my life.
    Learner drivers should be encouraged and this is an encouraging step.

  12. I am in favour of reducing the hours as I have three teenagers I am teaching. 120 hours is a nightmare. I can spend six hours a day in the car on a weekend.

    My three are all attending driving school 5 lessons at a time to clock up those extra hours and another round of 5 lessons towards the end of their hours. 50-80 hours is all these kids need if they also do some lessons with a driving school.

    I think if learners attend a advanced driver training course before they get their P’s would be a great advantage. Maybe more options could be available to work towards getting the hours reduced. 120 hours is too much!

    Taking these students onto a freeway too early can be very frustrating to other road users. It’s common sense to get your learner up to speed before venturing out on highway driving. 90KM is a great idea if they have been taught well.

    However, I am very concerned that the amount of parents fudging driving lesson books, turning a blind eye to their kids driving on their learners licence alone. I hope they can live with themselves if and when their kids have an accident and or have fines they can not afford. If the parents don’t have any respect for the law then nor do their kids.

    Parents doing the right thing are to be congratulated!

  13. I’m looking forward to this course. Living in the country means a very long haul in accumulating hours. Everything is within 15mins. The course will provide them with the skills and knowledge they require for the roads today.
    Changing the speed limit to 90km should really only be for main roads like expressways. It is a very slow trip and the Learner car is much, much slower on freeways etc. Cars are looking to overtake at all opportunities. Otherwise the 80km limit is fine. We are 2 months in and only 30 hr up – that includes 2 driving lessons!

  14. I think anything to help the learners along is a positive thing. Patience and courtesy is something that has been lost along the way also. Some don’t even have the time to indicate these days. My second child is currently on her L’s and sometimes it is quite frustrating drivers cutting her off which no doubt adds to her anxiety. I am wondering if this bad driving is showing these learners drivers what to do when they get their P’s.

  15. Its not as good as it looks. Currently hours with an instructor get equivalent of 3 hours in the log book. I would be interested to know if this changes as of 1/7/13 for current learners.

  16. I do have a complaint about information on changes, and information on the Road Rules.
    I first receivad my drivers license wheni was 18 years of age,

    To date, i have never received any information on the changes mentioned above, save in the last 12 months, by going to the R.T.A , or recently the NRMA,

    I have received all other changes 3rd hand from other drivers.

    I have never been stopped for a Breath Test Analysis,

    I have been given on the spot notices, which when defended verbally, were squashed, and i was tol to take them as a warning.

    I am now 71 years of age, and the only Rule Changes i have ever seen were those mentioned above, i have not calculated the miles/ kilometers driven over these years, but i would say a rough estimate would be well over a half million.

    Would you not think that these notices, should be sent out to all licensed Drivers, or those renewing licenses, even though this could involve a 5 year delay in some cases.

    ie., bicycle hook turns, the ever changing rules regarding Round abouts ( which needs policing, as following drivers behind the one you stopped for, may count for up to 20 vehicles, travelling at a speed that would not allow them to stop before entering the Round about), I am glad that the Amber light rule has finally been made a law, rather than the old system, stop if you can, even though many drivers still follow through,

    Many drivers on side street not controlled by a stop sign will still force their way into a main stream of traffic, whilst police sit in side street concentrating on speeding drivers, and those on the main street following too closely behind.

  17. We are now on our 4th Learner Driver, and agree that the course sounds like an excellent idea. It will promote standardisation on technique/ etiquette/ risk assessment which having all these different parents as Driving Instructors does not allow. The incentive to attend the course with reduced hours is good.
    I also agree with increasing the L speed to 90kmh, as the 120 hours has forced more L drivers onto highways/ motorways, and driving under the speed limit causes frustration and increases risk of accidents.

    I have a theory on how society is contributing to young P plate drivers having high accident rates. We have reduced risk so much eg. by dumbing down playground equipment to that suitable for 3 year olds, that kids no longer experience risk taking and the resulting consequences. By not being exposed, their risk assessment skills are undeveloped. A major source of freedom from adult supervision occurs once they get into a car by themselves, and we see the results of them not forseeing consequences of risk taking (or even perceiving risks) as they have not experienced minor accidents in their childhood. Result – carnage on the roads.

  18. When student pilots train for their licenses and certificates (depends whether it is GA or recreational), they have to complete a Human Factors test. This checks their mental and physical capacity to handle situations that require them to work through demanding aspects of their flying. The Human Factors test teaches them to focus exclusively on what they are doing. As we have far too many of our young people killed in motor vehicle accidents, this may be something that could be looked at. The other thing we need to instil in our young drivers is that a driving licence is a privilege, not a right. Giving police the right of summary suspension of licences for P-plate drivers would teach young people that there are serious consequences to what they do on the road.

  19. I support this change entirely after learning to drive over 50 years ago. However I also believe that parents who are not good drivers shouldn’t be able to teach their kids as I have also observed some nightmare P plate drivers (one was travelling 50 in a 70 zone then 50 in a school zone!). Parents who have had their licences for a minimum of 10 years should also be tested before they are allowed to start teaching their kids. If possible I believe that all drivers should have a driving test every 10 years.
    Maybe learner drivers need to receive the L plates with an icon indicating their supervisor’s ability to supervise them!! This would assure motorists that the trainee is doing the best they can and reduce motorists frustration

  20. I think this is a good idea and giving us learners a 90km/h speed limit with make a nive difference. The 120 hours that we have to do is ridiculous. Aall i want to do is drive so i can atleast take a nice chunk out of them and maybe get my get my p’s when i turn 17 but its so hard for my parents. The speed increase will be great because every drive i go on black platers are so close to me if i suddenly brake the back of my car wont be recognisable anymore. Being a learner is very very hard so changes like these are greatly apreciated because we are under a tonne of stress anyway

  21. I think it’s a good idea, as a Learner Driver I think it is good as we will be able to do the hours quicker and faster as we can get up to 90 km/h and also the driving course is also a good idea as we get a hands on experience for the driving teacher to see what we are doing right or wrong and correct us before we go for the P’s test

  22. it will be interesting to see if the safe driving courses will be available to everyone that wants to do it or if there will be a waiting list to get in. I can’t afford $500 worth of lessons so we will be doing the extra hours. We all managed in the past without that many hours. Can’t see the need for it really.

  23. I think it’s a great idea to increase the learners speed in line with speed limits however I feel they should be allowed to drive at the posted limit for all speeds. This would mean they would not be interfering with the flow of traffic on highways and freeways. Maybe have an L2 style. Say, After 50hrs the speed limit can increase to signposted speeds.

    • I agree with Gaylia that supervised learner drivers should be allowed to drive at the sign posted speed limit. I thinks that driving at the speed limit in traffic is probably less challenging than driving at a speed different to the main flow of traffic because the speed difference is less. It also means that learner drivers are more likely to be exposed with a supervisor to the situations they will eventually need to be competent with when driving by themselves. Driving at 100 or 110km/h on the open road or freeway is a skill that should be able to be taught by a competent supervisor – we might even be able to teach drivers to keep left unless overtaking even if they are travelling at the speed limit. :-)

  24. why aren’t these courses available in high school as a subject if they what kids to be better drivers maybe the government should take this on and stop blaming the kids of today for not having enough knowledge of road rules and driving experience. It’s about time they got it right for once.

    • I bet you are one of the people who complain because schools haven’t taught kids how to read and do maths,yet you want to stuff another subject into an already overloaded curriculum. Stop expecting the teachers to take over the parent’s responsibilities!

  25. The major problem that I see regularly is that Driving Schools teach learners to pass the test and not how to drive. I have seen them driving around and around the testing circuits, this teaches them nothing to do with the ability to drive on real roads other then the testing circuit. A trained monkey can learn to pass by going over and over the testing circuits.
    Providing the Advanced Driving Courses teach young person driving skills, and to be aware of what really happens on the roads not a problem. eg. How to steer a vehicle, to have complete vision, eg. front, sides and rear and learn by others mistakes rather then their own. Retired cop of 35 yrs, seen too many MVA opps MVC,. Only seen two MVA’s the rest were collisions, and someone’s at least if not both at fault.

  26. When ever i see a P plater I take note of how many times they break the road rules, it seems that is every few minutes on average, which would mean that it is imposible to teach someone to drive properly or they have no respect for the rules once they get the licence.

  27. A great step in the right direction.
    Next steps:
    * Introduce a short training accreditation for all drivers who wish to teach a learner driver. Not just a course, a test. If you fail, you can’t supervise learners drivers. A major issues with novice drivers
    * Make the Safer Drivers course a full blown 2 or 3 day course including road craft, theory and practical skills in adverse conditions. Even better would be an extended programme incorporating elements such as first aid and vehicle maintenance.
    * Remove differential speed limits for learner and provisional drivers. A number of other states do not have special speed limits for novice drivers. The special limits put the novice drivers and those around them at much greater risk, especially on motorways and country roads.

    • Sorry hit “enter” too early. First point should say:
      “* Introduce a short training accreditation for all drivers who wish to teach a learner driver. Not just a course, a test. If you fail, you can’t supervise learner drivers. A major issue with novice drivers is that they learn bad habits from their parents and friends.”

  28. We are giving the kids a dangerous toy to play with because at 17 they are not old enough in the head when they drive by themselves. They still want to impress their friends, show off to whoever, go faster than their mates, try new tricks and get past those who dare slow them down. The last thing on their mind is anyone’s death. We should wait until they are 17 and 9 months to get their Ls,drive at 90km for 3 months under supervision then have them go to the courses you are advocating until they pass them and can get their Ps.This will mean the kids are at least 18 when they drive independantly and hopefully by then they will have grown up enough to think self preservation before heroisation.I bet we would see a drastic reduction in theunder 25s road toll.

  29. I don’t agree with this It took along time to get my Ps due to the long hours and I’m a P plater I done the hours and I can still only do 90 km that’s unfair

  30. I’m 19 and have had my L’s for nearly three years because my mum moved away and I had nobody else to teach me… 120 hours is a joke… But I have trouble affording lessons. So hopefully they do make it a reasonable price or otherwise it’s still no good for people who are in similar situations to me. I am a good driver and have been taught the rules, and when it comes to freeways it’s a good thing to put our speed up to 90ks p/h. My partner is on his p’s and always drives the speed limit and every day nearly every car that is on their blacks speed past us, so to say that it’s just the P platers and the Learners that make them do it is silly, some people with their full license like to show off and speed. We have nearly had two accidents on the road at roundabouts because someone with their full license didn’t want to wait for us to get out of their way and not bother looking… Maybe they should take lessons aswell.

  31. I agree with the course idea.. Definitely not the 90 ks idea.. I am a very careful person and As a learner driver myself, I’m too scared to drive above 80

  32. ive done 4 lessons with a professional and have completed 50 hours in my log book.
    do those hours still comply with the new rules? or will i have to start again?
    if not, how many more hours do i have to make up?

  33. This is a great way to encourage learning safer driving from new students, however as well as this course, L’s should also do a defensive driving course, before they try for their red P’s.

  34. I agree with the changes but think that a stepped “L” plate system would be good. I’m just about to start teaching my third child to drive, having done 120 hours and been restricted to 80 km/h with the previous two. I think the increase in speed limit to 90 km/h is fine as they will be driving at this speed once they get their Ps, but maybe there should be an L plate that lets other drivers know that the learner is brand new on the road and only increase their speed limit once they move to the second step. There’s a big difference between a child that only has a few hours behind the wheel to one who has clocked 100 hours. (As a supervisor of Learners, it is also very frustrating on a long trip to lengthen a driving time by having to drive at a reduced speed, to the extent where I insist on driving the 110 stretches even though would have been quite capapble by this stage under supervision and the perfect opportunity for them to log some hours…with appropriate breaks of course!)

    Both my kids got their licences on their first go, which was great, but they earned it. I refused to fudge hours even though I was nagged at by my kids that “eveyone else does it” – and know of one learner who only completed about 30 hours of driving lessons. Unfortunately he got his licence on the first go as well, which was incredibly annoying and frustrating as all it did was rub it in my son’s face about how many hours he had done.

    Both my older children had some professional driving lessons, but I found this a fairly big burden financially and know a lot of people in a situation worse than us who simply could not afford to pay for any lessons. In order to get enough hours up (especially toward the end) we would often go for drives just for the sake of getting some hours up – spending more on petrol than I would in a normal week – a financial burden in itself.

    A question – at the moment, 1 hour of driving lesson is logged at 3 hours in the Learner’s Manual. Does the new rule mean 10 driving lessons of one hour each are required? I presume so, but does this mean this 10 hours will be logged at 30 hours or only at 10 but reduce the number of overrall hours required? (Or will it mean that they only need to have 4 one hour lessons which is currently equivalent to 12 logged hours?) It’s all very well to make these changes and announce them, but more detail is needed – especially for those supervisors who have previously taught children under the old rules and limits.

  35. One learning-item that to my knowledge has not been covered for over 35 years (I am now on a Gold Card) is the issue of the hazard of Roos on rural roads. I was never taught it when I first went for my “P” license (“P’s” had just come in). I have had to learn “on-the-road”.

    Recently, in my area, we recently had a 19 year old girl from the city (Miranda from memory), studying at UNE Armidale who was driving from Guyra to Inverell via Tingha. About 20 mins or so out of Guyra, she encountered a Roo (either dead or alive – it doesn’t matter) on the road. She swerved to avoid it and so rolled her car. Sadly, one more fatality for the road-toll (Her as well as the Roo).

    Country kids who have been driving on their parent’s farms, and on quiet gravel roads since the age of 10, and who know the Roo dangers, seem to survive these encounters – mostly without even a smash-repair to worry about. For this issue, they are safer and better-equipped than their City-peers. I pity the City-kids who have never acquired this experience.

    At both dusks (evening and morning), and at night, if one is traveling at or near 100kmh (as is most often the case), one has only half a second to tell the difference between a Roo or a branch/shrub on the side of the road (or even a Roo on the road itself). Another second to tell whether it is going to move or not, and another half a second to tell if it is going to cross your path and thus set up a collision. Then it is a maximum of two and a half more seconds before potential impact.

    Roos also seem to have this frequent, distressing habit to see if they can out-hop a car – right in front of it; or if they are a big euro, cross in front of it with reckless abandon – contemptuous of the car crossing their path. Sadly, this is a fatal mistake for them.

    How many City kids are aware of this Roo danger in the first place, and how many of them have these discernment skills and associated lightning-quick reactions to ensure a near miss (preferably) or if an impact, how to keep the car from rolling, and thus survive?

    A penny for your thoughts.

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