The first phase will take effect from 1 July 2007 and includes:
- new requirements and conditions for obtaining and holding a learner licence
- new requirements for motorbike learner licence applicants
- new requirements and conditions for obtaining and holding a provisional licence
New learner licence
Changes for Queensland learner licence holders aged under 25 years of age include:
- Lowering the minimum age of obtaining a learner licence to 16 but lengthening the requirement to hold a learner licence to 12 months (currently 6 months). Learner licences will be valid for 3 years at no extra cost
- Gaining 100 hours of supervised on-road driving experience recorded and certified in a logbook, including 10 hours of night driving experience
- A ban on using a mobile phone, including the hands-free function
- A ban on supervisors and passengers using a mobile phone with a loudspeaker function
Changes for Queensland learner licence holders aged 25 years and over include:
- holding a learner licence for a minimum 12 month period (currently 6 months)
- the learner licence being valid for 3 years
- encouraging the learner driver to gain 100 hours of on-road driving experience (not mandatory)
Motorbike learner licence applicants (all ages):
- must hold a provisional car licence (class C/CA provisional licence) for 12 months prior to obtaining a motorbike learner licence (class RE)
- 100 hours recorded in a logbook
Before we move onto QLD transports justifications for the new laws, lets have a think about some of the above laws for a second. Firstly the 12 month learners period is not exactly a bad idea, but the 100 hours of driving training is a little steep. If you do not have a car to practice on, having 100 hours of recorded and logged driving lessons will mean that you will need 100 hours of driving. QLD transport says that it is willing to count the first 10 hours of driving lessons with a driving instruction as 30 hours, so for every 1 hour you are accredited 3 hrs. But that is only for the first 10 hours. The other 70 hours you will need to either do in your own car or pay for with a driving instructor. So if you don't have you own car, it will cost you 80 hours of lessons, or at a cost of $40/hr = $3,200. QLD transport says that exceptions maybe given to those who can show why they should be except from this, whilst they come up with a support plan.
What will this lead to? Personally I think for those who have access to a parent or guardians car it will lead to a lot of "fake" recorded hours, and for those who don't it will be a huge discouragement to gain their license. QLD transport says that any falsified log book records will be handed back with a penalty, but what I want to know, is how can they know what is and what is not falsified!? They simply can't. So go ahead, ask your friends for some 'lessons'.
So lets move onto the mobile phones problem, a ban on mobile phones has been around for some time, but a ban on hands free is set to be introduced. Banning hands free bluetooth kits shows one very simply thing. QLD transport has no idea about technology.
QLD police are going to have a tough time trying to spot little bluetooth headsets in the left ear of P plater drivers. Furthermore, what about inbuilt bluetooth car kits? Not good. In otherwords you better not even talk when you are in the car since the police will give you a ticket as you might have been on your phone. In fact, you better not even sing along to your favourite song since that might get you booked.
What is even more ridiculous is the ban on speaker phones by passengers in a P plater car! I dont understand how there is a difference between talking to your passenger in a car, or talking to someone else over speaker phone which your passenger
is holding? After all, talking is talking isnt it? Would QLD government prefer all P platers to simply just not talk at all when they are driving? Perhaps new rules will require all P platers to have to cover their mouths as well? Absolutely ridiculous.
So now the log book,
What exactly do you have todo in the log book?
- Learner licence holders will be required to accrue and record their supervised driving experience, including 10 hours of mandatory night driving, in the logbook. (So 90hrs of day driving and 10hrs of night)
- Each entry must be verified by the supervising driver (from what I can gather, an Open license holder who has had their license for over a year is able "verify" this).
How will the logbook be used?
- Following completion, the logbook will be checked carefully and recorded by Queensland Transport. This must be completed before a learner driver can undertake a practical driving test. The logbook will be stored by Queensland Transport and may be used for research and evaluation purposes.
Can you get out of using a logbook, e.g. if you don't have access to a car in the family to practice with?
- No word on this yet, QLD transport says information regarding exemptions will be available closer to 1 July 2007.
Where do you get an approved logbook from and how much will it cost?
- Logbooks will be available from Queensland Transport and licence issuing agencies. There will be a charge for the logbook to cover the cost of administering the logbook system. The cost and further information will be available closer to 1 July2007.
What happens if I lose my logbook?
- You will be required to re-enter the details in a new logbook and have each entry certified by the supervising driver or driver trainer.
What happens if the information in the logbook is falsified by either the learner driver or the supervisor?
- Penalties will apply for falsifying logbooks.
What happens if I can't access a supervisor and or a vehicle?
- Queensland Transport is currently investigating a range of programs to support learner drivers. Exemptions on a case by case basis will be available until the proposed support program for young drivers is in place.
What if I use a driver trainer?
- Each one hour of on-road experience with an accredited driver trainer will count as 3 hours of onroad experience, up to a maximum of 10 hours.
- Learners may undertake more than 10 hours with an accredited trainer however any accredited drivertraining over the initial 10 hours will be counted hour for hour towards the required logged hours.
What happens if I'm a learner driver aged over 25 years of age?
- It is not mandatory you complete the logbook, however you are encouraged to gain 100 hours of onroad experience.
- A learner licence must be held for a minimum of 12 months.
What will happen to learner drivers who obtained their licence before 1 July 2007?
- Transitional arrangements will apply for learner drivers issued with a licence prior to this date.
- If a learner licence is renewed after 1 July 2007, the new rules will apply.
- It will not be necessary to complete a logbook if a learner licence was obtained before 1 July 2007, andyou do not have to renew your learner licence before passing a practical driving test.
Am I still required to display L plates?
Yes. All learner licence holders must currently display an L plate on the front and rear of the vehicle
or cop a $120 fine. The L plate should measure at least 146mm by 146mm and show a black upper case letter ‘L’ clearly marked on a yellow background. There is no requirement for the sign to be reflective.
What are the new restrictions to mobile phone use?
To minimise distraction for young drivers under 25 years of age, learner licence holders can not use a mobile phone at any time while driving, including the use of hands free kits and blue tooth accessories.
Why are these changes being introduced?
Young drivers are at greater risk of distraction than more experienced drivers. Banning mobile phone use for learner drivers removes the potential for distraction.
Can supervisors or passengers use a mobile phone?
Supervisors and passengers of learner drivers under 25 years of age are prohibited from using a phone that is on loudspeaker but can use a hand held or hands free mobile phone where only a one-way conversation can occur and not distract the driver.
What happens if the young driver, passenger, or supervisor breaches the mobile phone restriction?
A penalty will apply. Details will be determined closer to the implementation date.
Okay so not that you've read all the BS from QLD transport, lets make some sense of it all.
I still have to start with my favourite, the Mobile phone load speaker and bluetooth ban. So now that you can't use your phone and your friend next to you can't put it on loud speaker so that you can hear it, your friend becomes the loud speaker. He is now the middle man who will talk for you, you tell him what you want to say and he will say it and then give you the response that he recieved, sounds stupid? It is.
My biggest recommendation is that all of you who are eligable to get your learners before July 2007, todo so NOW. don't put it of any longer, get your learners now! And for those of you still on your learners get your license before July, just go and do it, It will save you a lot of headache come July!
I am keen to see what these new programs that are set to support young drivers that cant afford to pay $3,200 simply to get the 100 hour of log book training are going to be! I am hoping that QLD transport will provide cars for drivers to borrow free of cost, or perhaps create a defensive driving course scheme whereby young drivers can choose to undergo a few defensive driving courses which will count as sufficient experience to get their license.
The thing that annoys me the most is the exception for drivers over 25 to not have to undergo the 100 hour log booking. I can see a lot of 20+ adults who currently dont hold license will see this as an easy way to simply just wait till they are 25 than go for their license. These laws are discrimination against young drivers. These rules need to apply to all or none.
All in all these laws are set to make life hell for young drivers and I wish all of you the best of luck. But do not worry, there are people like us who are writing and complaining and doing as much as we can to let the government know these new laws will not save any lives. For the parents of kids reading this thinking these laws are a great idea, perhaps you should go and retake your driving test after these new laws come into affect, and don;t be surprised when you fail.