Just 18 of the 600-plus unqualified learner supervisors that completed the online NRMA Safer Driving School test achieved the 15 out of 16 pass mark (93 per cent). The test included questions similar to those in the RMS test, in which participants require a minimum score of 41 out of 45 (91 per cent) to earn their learners driver licence.
Participants in the NRMA test included parents and guardians who have either supervised a learner driver in the past five years or intend to supervise a learner in the next five years.
NRMA motoring and services president Wendy Machin said the disappointing result came after 96 per cent of supervisors said they felt either ‘fairly confident’ or ‘very confident’ about teaching a learner driver.
“The average score of nine out of 16 indicated parents and supervisors needed a better knowledge of road rules before getting into a car with a learner driver,” Machin said.
Only 21 per cent of participants correctly answered that the legal blood alcohol limit for a supervisor was ‘less than 0.05’, while less than one quarter knew that motorists were permitted to drive in a bus lane for 100 metres before turning.
The NRMA recommends that all learner supervisors complete the government’s ‘keys2drive’ program, which is a free service that pairs a qualified driving instructor with the learner and their supervisor.
It also encourages professional lessons for learner drivers in addition to lessons with parents and guardians.
“Young drivers pick up on the driving habits of their supervisors – both good and bad – and this means taking time to prepare before getting in the car,” Machin said.
“We know that parents spend a lot of time with their kids in the car as they increase their log book hours so it’s important that the experience is beneficial to all involved.
“The odds of a fatal crash increase dramatically once a learner driver gets in a car on their own as a P-plater.
“The NRMA believes that a combination of driving lessons from both a driving school and supervisors, combined with a strong educational program such as keys2drive, are factors that could reduce these odds.”
Professional driving lessons are not compulsory for learners in Australia, unlike in some countries, including Germany, which is renowned for its emphasis on driver training.