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'It's a scam': How our learner drivers are being ripped off

NOT FAIR: Lee Ware is concerned about learner licence fees which are costing young drivers like Danni Gnech (inset).
NOT FAIR: Lee Ware is concerned about learner licence fees which are costing young drivers like Danni Gnech (inset). Rob Williams

THE Queensland Government is ripping learner drivers off according to an Ipswich driving instructor.

Lee Ware from Aplus Learn 2 Drive has taught hundreds of people to drive over his three and a half years in Ipswich.

"The State Government is breaking the law by double dipping on learner licence fees," he said.

>> READ MORE: Licence fees a financial hit Ipswich youth can't afford

>> READ MORE: COMMENT: Test should be tough, but fair

"In Queensland there are 1000 provisional licence tests each week. As soon as they pass their test the rest of the time left on their fully paid licensing fees just disappears and they have to pay all over again.

Mr Ware said a number of drivers he encountered renewed their learner's licence, only to pass their provisional test weeks later.

He even had one pensioner whose learner's licence was close to expiring.

"I said I could get her into a test spot and she said 'Don't even worry about it, I can't take the risk of paying if I can't pass, I just can't afford it'," he said.

Right now learner drivers pay $160.50 for a three-year licence, just $5 less than a five-year open licence fee.

Fast facts:

  • Queensland learner drivers pay $160.50 for a three year licence, just $5 less than a five-year open licence fee.
  • As soon as learners get out of the car after passing their test they cannot drive without a provisional licence, which costs between $73.70- $165.00.
  • The cost of a three year provisional license in May 2012 was $87.50 and the cost now is $127.10.
  • The written road rules test for learners costs $23.10
  • The practical driving test costs $54.10
  • You must pass the hazard perception test before you can upgrade to a P2 provisional licence or an open licence which costs $19.10

As soon as learners get out of the car after passing their test they cannot drive without a provisional licence, which costs between $73.70 and $165.00.

Mr Ware wants to see learners not have to pay additional fees after they pass their test.

"It's a scam," he said.

"I have students do their test in my car and pass. They are so excited, but often they can't afford it until pay day, so they have wait until they can pay for the additional licence before they can drive and I have to take them home."

Mr Ware said parents have also described the payments as a rip-off.

"Families with multiple kids, it's just killing them," he said.

"TMR's policy officer told me the fee system was under review for two years, that ended last May.

"He said it's been sent off to the Minister (Mark Bailey) and it would have to go through cabinet. That was 12 months ago now."

Danni Gnech recently got her P plates after paying twice for learner's permit twice.
Danni Gnech recently got her P plates after paying twice for learner's permit twice. Rob Williams

 

A PARENT'S PERSPECTIVE:

KARRABIN mother Debbie McDougall agreed with Mr Ware and said not having to pay for the provisional licence when people have years left on their learner's permit would help parents immensely.

"I have one daughter who has gone though it, one who gets her Ps next month then my youngest just got her learner's," she said.

"Ultimately it's parents that have to fork out this money because most children are still at school.

"My daughter only works a couple of hours a week and takes home about $70 a fortnight.

"It costs us about $275 for her to get her Ps. That includes lessons leading up to the test, booking the test and the licence itself, it's just this mounting cost."

WHAT MAIN ROADS HAS TO SAY:

THE Department of Transport and Main Roads the three year issue term for learner licences was introduced in 2007 as part of changes to the graduated licensing system.

"Queensland has a graduated licensing system to help reduce fatalities on the roads-particularly among young drivers," a spokesperson said.

"The aim of the system is to encourage safer, more proficient drivers, allowing novice drivers to gain more experience and improve their driving skills before they are allowed to progress to a higher type or class of licence."

The Transport and Main Roads spokesperson continued, saying the department was "mindful that the cost of products and services must be covered so that services can be administered and maintained".

"Research suggests that young drivers and riders, aged 16 to 24 years, are 60% more likely to be involved in a serious crash than licensed mature adult drivers and riders, aged 25 to 59 years," they said.

"The issue period was increased from one to three years to reflect the increased minimum tenure period for holding a learner licence (one year rather than six months) and to allow a reasonable time for learner drivers to accumulate 100 hours of supervised driving experience."

Topics:  driving instructor editors picks learner drivers


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