Learner drivers will be able to get behind the wheel during the coronavirus pandemic under strict rules and regulations.
Learner drivers will be able to get behind the wheel during the coronavirus pandemic under strict rules and regulations.

New restrictions in play for learner drivers amid pandemic

IT isn’t business as usual for AG Driving School owners Melinda and Andrew Gale, who were forced to shut their business down until further notice.

Mrs Gale said the industry wasn’t considered as an “essential service” by the government, and they have been forced to cancel more than 20 driving lessons and tests of hopeful new drivers.

“As a supervisor of a learner driver you must be sitting in the front seat with them. The social distancing restrictions can’t be upheld in that situation,” Mrs Gale said.

She said bookings for driving tests and lessons were called-off with not just the younger generation, and these cancellations took a heavy toll on the business.

“A lot of kids who are students were calling to make appointments and we had to knock them back,” Mrs Gale said.

JUST IN TIME: AG Driving School owners Andrew and Melinda Gale with son Angus after passing his driving test in January.
JUST IN TIME: AG Driving School owners Andrew and Melinda Gale with son Angus after passing his driving test in January.

“Not only students but we have quite a lot of older learners to who relied on getting their license to drive to work.

“It is effecting everybody which would be effecting their families and children.”

While driving schools are closed indefinitely, Paul Turner, from RACQ, said driving isn’t completely cut off to learner drivers during the pandemic.

“There has been a lot of confusion about learner drivers and how they deal with essential travel. Particularly since driving tests have been suspended for three months,” he said.

“What we do know from the State Government is you can drive as a learner driver with your supervised driver around your local neighbourhood.

“But stick to your village, stick to your neighbourhood.

“You’re not going to long trips but at least you can clock up some hours driving around your local neighbourhood,” he said.

Mr Turner said while this is allowed, driving outside your suburb is not.

“If you do and you are pulled over by the police it will not be counted as essential travel and you can be fined up to $13,000.

“This is a good decision by the government for parents and learner drivers so you can clock up some hours between now and when driving tests are allowed again.

“But it is very important that they don’t abuse it. They can still drive with their supervisor but it has to be on an essential trip.

“Provided your in your local neighbourhood and driving with a supervisor then you should be okay.”