Unprepared learners

A recent RAC survey has revealed that 61 per cent of learner drivers in WA are taking their practical driving assessment before they are ready.

The survey found that less than half of the participants passed their PDA on their first attempt.

According to the RAC, drivers aged between 17 to 25 are at the greatest risk of road related injuries.

Driving instructor of 11 years Steve Quartermaine said that spending more time behind the wheel to become a safer driver is often third or fourth priority for young drivers.

“It appears other pressures come into play such as peer pressure, mum and dad wanting them to get their licence, being keen to get their freedom or they have booked a test and don’t want to change the date,” Mr Quartermaine said.

Driving instructor Steve Quartermaine agrees with the findings. Photo: supplied.

According to Mr Quartermaine, unpreparedness and nerves are the two biggest factors contributing to failures today.

“I think better preparation would improve the pass rate by 20 to 30 per cent,” he said.

“The closer we get to 120 hours practice before you drive by yourself, the much safer.”

Young driver Stephanie Canning, from Dianella, passed her PDA on the seventh attempt and said unpreparedness was a major issue.

“I didn’t feel prepared, I felt like I was pushed to do it when I wasn’t ready,” Miss Canning said.

“I was so nervous I felt sick.”

Miss Canning was not surprised by the RAC survey results, agreeing that more practice may be the solution.

“More practice hours would have made me a better driver,” she said.

The Department of Transport requires learner drivers to complete 50 hours of supervised driving between sunrise and sunset.

Owner of Defensive Driving School Ben Pereira believes that if the department implements a requirement of a number of hours with a professional driving instructor, the pass rate would increase.

“If you don’t get enough professional training you are not going to pass,” Mr Pereira said.

According to Mr Pereira most drivers are learning with their parents which causes issues as there have been changes in rules and regulations since they started driving.

Mr Quartermaine recognises that lessons aren’t affordable for all families, but said that a price change in lessons is unlikely.

“We haven’t had a pay rise for lessons in six years, we can’t operate on much less,” he said.

“If someone was to say the government would pay for half the lessons, there would definitely be more people doing them.”

Mr Quartermaine’s key advice for learner drivers is to be familiar with the roads and to practice.

“The more hours you do the less nervous you are going to be,” he said.

“Get to the point where you can do all the manoeuvers and drive safely on the road in all conditions without assistance from those around you, then you are ready for your test.”