Understand The Process, Take Proffered Advise

← Previous

A post that I am driven to make purely because what I write now has to be written.

Today is Thursday March 7, 2024. Yesterday I met a young man who hails from the sub-continent. His English is not perfect but he understood what I had to say and could make himself understood as well. He is a polite, personable human being who was seeking his driver’s licence so that his studies, his travel requirements and his to and from a work situation could be made easier. When we met he had undertaken 8 driving lessons with another accredited trainer. He has no other open licence driver available with whom he might practice. My appointment with him was to attend his Practical Driving Assessment. His “test”.

My purpose on these occasions is to basically hold the hand of the candidate, educate them into how the test process works, what to expect from the examiner and what the examiner expects from the candidate. I give them my vehicle, which they pay for the use of, and I step back to allow the process to proceed. My purpose is NOT to train the individual as I, and the system, expects that the individual has made their decision to attend the assessment process because they believe they are ready to be assessed. In other words, they can drive. In the hour that I was with this young man it was patently evident that not only was he not ready for assessment, he did not understand what our system expects to see from a consciously competent candidate. His cornering was not appropriate, he was far too slow and hesitant for the traffic flows he would experience, he did not understand how to negotiate a roundabout, or how to engage with a controlled intersection that did not provide turn directions. He did not properly understand the protocols required to change lanes, merge in traffic or even enter the road from a parked position. His test failed within 20 minutes, the examiner making the sotto voce observation to me – “pretty shit, eh?” Not something I would normally accredit to any examiner and I won’t here either, but I knew he wouldn’t be impressed.

I won’t detail the test report, suffice to say it wasn’t pretty. Today I received the following SMS from this young man.

‘Hi Neil, are you available on this Monday 11th? I’m able to rebook my exam on Monday 11th at 3:35pm at Greenslopes again. I wanna(sic) take 2 more 1hrs classes on Saturday and Sunday Please’

I don’t work Sunday or Monday and my Saturdays are full books for the next 3 weeks. This after I strenuously advised him that preparation for a Practical Driving Assessment can ONLY come as a result of many, many hours of driving practice. I explained to him the 100 hour logbook regime that young drivers between the ages of 16 and 25 MUST undertake in order to ensure that their on-road experience is broad-ranging and fulsome. Simply put, as kindly as I could, I advised him that obtaining a licence to drive in Australia is not remotely like India and that he needs to dedicate much more time to practice and preparation than 8 formal driving sessions encompassing some 10 hours total. Clearly, my advise was ignored, or more likely, simply not understood.

I write this, as I stated above, because it has to be written. A licence to drive in Australia is a privilege, not a right. Our roads are highly regulated, our traffic rules are highly regulated. To further complicate matters, when you drive around in this country long enough, it becomes blindingly obvious that most open licence drivers simply cannot drive, nor understand what driving is all about. One cannot come from another country, even if one understands how to move a vehicle around on the road, and expect to be awarded a licence to drive. It simply does NOT happen that way. Experience in our road systems, how other drivers do what they do and why they do what they do is an essential part of understanding what driving in Australia is all about. Fail to garner that understanding and you WILL NOT be granted a driver’s licence.

In short, I have ensured that I have nothing further to do with this young man via the driving school I am associated with. Should he have a change of attitude and wish to undertake a program of sessions during which I will teach him the requirements – which may take several months – then I will gladly assist. He is intelligent. He needs to be willing to understand. His attitude to this process is, unfortunately, all too common among foreign students in general. How we – accredited trainers – address this issue is, frankly, not my problem. My role is to train, not change mindsets. The process will do that…..eventually.

Comments are closed.