Capricorn Driving Academy's Luke Wildie. Photo Meghan Kidd
Capricorn Driving Academy's Luke Wildie. Photo Meghan Kidd

Central Highlands learner drivers eager to hit the road

HUNDREDS of Central Highlands’ learner drivers can start planning their next steps after the government announced P-plate practical driving tests would recommence.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said Queensland’s learner drivers would be able to sit for their P-plates again with tests to resume on Monday, June 15.

Capricorn Driving Academy’s Luke Wildie said about 80 practical tests were cancelled in March, and that was just in Blackwater.

“Then add Emerald, Moranbah and all the smaller surrounding towns, and that’s literally hundreds of drivers,” he said.

“It was devastating. The number of students who were test ready and about to get a licence to go into essential services or to get a job, they’ve been restricted in getting there.”

Mr Wildie, who had to cancel all services, said students were eager to get the ball rolling again after being inundated with bookings this week.

Capricorn Driving Academy has started taking bookings for driving tests from July 15 in line with eased coronavirus restrictions.
Capricorn Driving Academy has started taking bookings for driving tests from July 15 in line with eased coronavirus restrictions.

He said a booking process would be introduced to prioritise learner drivers who had their tests suspended due to the pandemic, and those who urgently needed their P-plates for economic, health, and job reasons.

“We’ve have to prioritise bookings, which some people aren’t happy about, but it’s what we need to do,” he said.

Mr Wildie has also applied to open lessons prior to June 15 and is waiting to hear back from the Department of Transport.

“(Learners) have had a big gap so we want people to have lessons before the testing opens,” he said.

“We want them to take refreshers and dummy tests and really make sure they’re ready.

“People can be stressed out, nerves take over, plus the three-month break.”

Drivers shouldn’t feel obliged to complete the test straight away if they’re not ready for it.

The fee for learner licence renewals is being waived until three months after practical driving tests resume. This includes learner licences that have expired.

“The impacts of COVID-19 have been far-reaching and I want to express my appreciation to all the learner drivers for their patience and understanding,” Mr Bailey said.

“I also want to thank our driving instructors who will be working hard to safely progress through the COVID-related backlog”.


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