What’s Happening With Safe Driver Training During the Pandemic
At any given time, there are thousands of Australians learning to drive. The COVID-19 pandemic has made life complicated for many of these people as they adjust to ever-changing rules and regulations. Students can still practice their driving and undertake safe driver courses & training, but they need to be aware of the new guidance.
Are Driving Lessons Essential?
The rules surrounding driving lessons vary from state to state. Given the fluid and constantly-evolving situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, you should check any information with your state. Some driving schools have chosen to restrict their activities beyond the legal requirements; others are suffering from a shortage of driving instructors. You should contact your driving school to find out what measures they have put in place.
In New South Wales and Victoria, driving lessons are considered as an essential service so you are allowed to practise driving on the road. This includes lessons administered by driving instructors and family members. Students attending a Service NSW centre or VicRoads for a driving test are required to sign documents confirming that they don’t have any symptoms of COVID-19.
In Western Australia, learners are encouraged to practice driving with a supervisor from the same household wherever possible. However, they may still take lessons with their regular instructor if they wish.
Queensland and Tasmania have taken identical approaches; students may still practice their driving on the road, provided they remain within their local area. Students should also avoid stopping or exiting their vehicles unless they are doing so to obtain essential supplies.
In South Australia, driving lessons are exempt from the usual social distancing requirements. Like other states, learner drivers are encouraged to practice with a member of their household wherever possible.
Safe Driver Training
Safe driver courses are still permitted to go ahead throughout Australia; they are treated the same as any other form of driver training. However, it is up to instructors to ensure they provide a safe and hygienic environment for learners to practice. This means thoroughly wiping down surfaces with antibacterial wipes between students, wearing masks where social distancing isn’t possible.
Most driving schools are also requiring students to sign a COVID-19 waiver, certifying that they accept the inherent risks of taking driving lessons during the pandemic and they do not currently have any symptoms of COVID-19.
During the classroom component of a safe driving course, which takes place outside of the vehicle, students will be spaced at least 1.5 metres apart to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Students will again need to sign a COVID-19 waiver.
The ban on driving tests implemented earlier in the year created a significant backlog. In many areas, learner drivers are still in the resulting queue, waiting to take their tests. Any learner driver who finds themselves facing a months-long wait to take their test should consider getting in some extra practice in the meantime.
The exception to this is the Northern Territory, where it has been up to the discretion of individual driving instructors whether they continue to administer tests or not. However, every other state and territory in Australia has banned all non-essential practical driving assessments. Essential driving assessments include those necessary for work, such as freight or mining work, and assessments necessary for medical and primary care reasons.
Learners can still book their place on a safer driving course during the COVID-19 pandemic. Book the NSW Safer Drivers Course with LTrent now.