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N/A | National Mandatory testing for drivers/riders?

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by dazed & confused, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. Today I went for a 40 minute ride. Took it very easy. Nice with the sun out. Saying that, I came across so many cases of comedic incompetence from other road users.

    I' have to say that almost every time I either ride or drive I come across the most dumb "is this really happening, really, that stupid" moments from other road users. Even fellow motorcyclists.

    This is not a rant BTW. I also make mistakes and have done many a dumb thing in the past.

    Two moments stood out today. (skip these if you want to save yourself from the lameness I came across).

    1st, I parked my bike to grab something for work and then enjoyed a coffee in the cafe next door, right where my bike was parked. A nice lady in her 30's attempted to parallel park in a spot behind my bike. The spot was twice the size of her car. Still she could not manage it, the front of her car getting closer and closer to my fairing with each back and forth attempt. I had to step in, being friendly about protecting my bike. She was confused and thought she didn't have any room behind her, in fact she had 3 meters, and asked how much further forward she could go towards the motorcycle… she was 15cm away from my bike! Shocking. I guided her backwards safety away from my bike.

    2nd, I pulled up at the lights of a main road that had a road to the left. Filter was green for tun left, red light for straight ahead. Lady in 50's indicates when the green filter to turn left comes on, starts the left turn, makes it about 3 meters, then indicates right and drives forward through the intersection and red light. Luckily no other traffic coming from the side road. Her car is now 10 meters away, she indicates and pulls to the side of the road. Lights turn green, I take off, as I approach her car she pulls back into the middle of the road without warning, right in front of me. Wasn't going too fast, so I just blip the horn to let her know I am behind her. She drives on, 20 meters, indicates to pull over and does, and then pulls out on me again. She then takes a left side street without indicating, which I have to take too, but I indicate. Then once we are in the side street, she slams on her brakes and hooks right to do a U-Turn. I'm out of there.

    Ultimately, what I wonder, is should it be mandatory for car and motorcycle license holders to re-take a theoretical exam every 5 years, and on top of that a practical road test every 10 years?

    There just seems to be a severe lack of competency on the roads. I have suggested this in the past to a few people. One said "errr, yeah I can see the point in that". Two others said "oh my god, don't say that, I'd never be able pass my driving test again".!

    It would be a pain in the backside. We would have to pay for it (maybe traffic fines could go towards this cost). But look at the upside: Possible reduction in minor accidents bringing insurance costs down, Possible reduction of harm to more vulnerable road user like cyclists and motorcyclists, safer for pedestrians. Greater value to road craft and self respect.

    Just seems to me that no tolerance heavy policing and fines are seen as the answer to road safety, but really is that the full picture. How about checking for competency and knowledge of the current road rules.
  2. Education is the key. Not retesting. Maybe we should do a driver and rider education course every licence renewal or we cannot renew. Better to educate than fake though a test
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Fair point, although, when people have been on the road 10 years, not all will respond to a lecture. I am sure if it was an educational course, which is a great idea BTW, the problem drivers would probably switch off and not care or want hear it.

    Not sure how you fake a driving test, is that possible?
  4. Make them ride a bike? They'd definitely listen to the lecture then.
    I think the Finnish have their licensing down pat - you're essentially a trained racing driver by the time you've got your full license over there. Perfect system.

    As pointed out the main hurdle with our current system would be getting past the "I know best" mentality of most drivers.
    That being said improved education is still better than increased testing. The tests (and current education for that matter) are an absolute joke. They don't focus on the skills required to drive/ride in a safe manner. The current guidelines force the testers to glaze over the importance of road craft and situational awareness, and completely ignore accident avoidance (no emergency brake tested) and advanced vehicle control (not once is how to correct a slide taught or tested) because instead all attention is focused on the constant scrutiny of the speedo as 1kph+ is an instant fail.
    As for reverse parking you EITHER get a reverse park OR a three point turn in your test not both, which is ridiculous - so there would be people not only faking their way through the bulk of the tests - by hiding their soccer mum bad driving habits for 30 minutes of low stress driving only to resume them once they leave the RTA - but they would also be stringing together tests which include the three point turn and not be assessed on nor able to parallel park.

    I learnt to control a car and control/correct a slide from competing in motorsport and actually experiencing/doing it - people have asked me how I do it but I can't explain it - it's just become muscle memory which is good because it gets me out of trouble when I find myself in it without me having to waste time thinking about what to do. As such I think motorsport or a car control course is something all new drivers should be exposed to on top of the required syllabus at least until the government sees fit to include advanced driver training in licensing. Which is what needs to be done along with a shift of primary driving education being done by professionals instead of the current system of having the horrible driving parents teaching their bad habits to their horrible driving offspring. (Think person who argues with driving instructor about indicating rules for roundabouts 'because my mum said I didn't have to do that' then asking why they failed twit test when they listened to mum instead of the trained professional).

    As for accident avoidance and situational awareness I was taught by my father, who happened to be a paranoid motorcyclist, So I was taught properly. I pride myself on stopping multiple accidents that could have occured thanks to other peoples stupidness and for being a more capable driver than a lot of the "more experienced" people I know. Just the other day a guy in a green Austin-Healy sprite pulled out on me. I saw him turning the corner into the merging lane and knew he would come across on me because of his road positioning. I stayed my course, sure enough seconds later no mirror check, let alone head check, right across ontop of me. But I was ready and dropped the anchors. I received no "sorry", no "thanks for stoping me from ruining my car", nope none of that nonsense - he just gave me the dirtiest look he could muster and continued on his way. It's not like I was easy to miss either I was in the cage - a ford Fairmont.
    Since getting on the bike however it's become even easier to spot the deadbrains. I play a game when the missus is driving where I point out cars and predict wether they are going to act like dickheads or make stupid errors. Just yesterday a guy in a shitbox was inching forward in the lane next to us as we were traveling down the highway tailgating the car infront of him. Picked him out as a dickhead obviously - no more than three seconds later once he had forced the car in front of him forward enough he undertook us, overtook the car he was tailgating and tried to run down an amber light... He wasn't anywhere near making it and ended up running the red by a mile. Who said you couldn't judge a book by it's cover?

    I'm sure most of you are exactly the same due to your experiences on the road. So those experiences should be part of the solution.

    The solution is simple;
    - Provide proper professional training as the bulk of driver education to new drivers (with only supplementary training from parents).
    - Provide advanced driver training / car control as a mandatory part of licensing to new and experienced drivers at at least a discounted price.
    - Shift the focus of driver training and testing from "1kph over kills kids" to "proper road craft, situational awareness, accident avoidance and vehicle control save kids".
    - Make testing longer and more intensive, (anyone can fake their way through the current testing).
    - Mandatory re-education on renewal as suggested by luke (call them renewal refresher courses or something).
    - Make them all ride a motorbike first. ;)
    - Those that can't drive have their licenses revoked permanently and are supplied a pushbike and cheaper train tickets.

    - In the magical world where all this happens the bills are paid by the revenue raised from motorists. (But we all know that back in reality that this will never happen and if even a little of this was implemented the bills would be passed on to us... With interest.

    • Like Like x 2
  5. Only thing to sledgetails that I'd add is a prime mover as well as a bike, make it mandatory as part of the initial training. Wouldn't even need to assess it, just let them experience each one for an hour or so.

    Agree about current driving test being pointless, maybe CBT like the bike ps day would work instead.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Yup! :)

    A year of riding a motorbike, and none of this wimpy LAMS business, any motorbike they fancy, before being allowed to drive cars.

    That would clean up the gene pool a fair bit.
  7. ^^^^^ you may want to re-think that idea ..how long do you think it would be before they ban motorcycles with thousands of muppets killing themselves
    • Like Like x 1
  8. While we all ride assuming every driver is a psychopath out to kill us, we all know this really isn't the case (but it is a good idea nonetheless). For every numpty driver we pass, we pass 99 good ones. Re-testing everyone to help these poor sods is probably a waste of money for the benefit.

    The thing I see wrong with the system as it is, is that crimes of wilful disobedience are treated the same as crimes of incompetence. That is points off your license and money.

    I'm just brainstorming right now but I think their could easily be a better 2-teered demerit point systems where normal fines for speeding, red lights etc. remain as they are. However crimes of incompetence such as failing to heed right of way, minor accidents including parking fender benders, displaying poor control of a motor vehicle or anything that gives away that you need to be given another lesson get different points. Fines are pointless for these because you cant really create a disincentive to being incompetent, but if you accrue say 6 incompetent points you are made to take a 1 day driving course and resit your license test.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. I'm a fan of a retesting proposal... but it just wouldn't work. The logistics are extraordinary and the cost to the economy unjustifiable.

    I've crunched the numbers several times.

    This is just the high level numbers to make the point:
    There's something like 16,000,000 million licenses in Australia.

    Discounting Sundays that leaves 313 days a year to do retesting, less if you include pub hols.

    If retesting occurs every 10 years, that's a little over 5100 retests a day. Even every 20 years, that's still a hell of a logistical issue.

    But I think the idea has merit, because what a smart guy once said to me was, that the government issues the licenses relatively freely, and the police are the ones who work out who gets to keep it. It's a flawed system.

    We should be aiming to get a better quality road user into the system to start with.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Most of the bad behaviour is the lack of knowledge of the rules, I think. Like the second one in the OP.

    When you renew your licence they should just randomly pick 10% of the people to retake the computer knowledge test. If you fail you lose your licence, most people will at least review the rules then (and probably find they have changed since they got their licence).

    It wouldn't cost that much because you only have to put in a computer, driving testers are a lot more expensive.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. To add a little more to my previous post compare 2 infringements. Travelling 15 km/h over the limit and failing to give way to another vehicle, causing a near miss. These both attract similar penalties, but they are very different beasts. The first example is probably a hell of a lot less dangerous than the second, however it also shows wilful disobedience. Who ever designed the system weighed up that the extra disobedience in the first offence counterbalances the extra danger in the second offence so they should be punished equally.

    It is a one fit system which doesn't really work. For someone to lose their license from failing to give way they have to do it a lot, but if they have got caught doing it once or twice there really is something wrong with their driving that needs to be addressed.

    Personally if I nearly got SMIDSYd and a cop pulled them over I would far rather they were re-educated then punished monetarily.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. The numbers seem enormous at first but when spread across all states and testing centres within states they seem a bit more manageable. It's the logistics of retesting the practical component that would be particularly challenging. It would be much easier to require a pass of a computer based road rules and hazard perception test at each occassion of license renewal ... lots of ways to skin that cat.

    A way to improve practical skills could be by the carrot approach ie promote discounts in statutory fees / insurance fees etc for those who have completed voluntary training via RSPs. This would be even more effective if there was a public perception of social status enhancement for those who have successfully completed these courses.

    From a financial aspect voluntary training would have flow-on benefits to the community from business stimulation with the potential to reduce morbidity / mortality cost burdens.
  13. Oh then you've crunched the numbers wrongly.;) Let me show you. The government sends the rider an email outlining the skills required to be assessed. The rider then performs a self assessment and marks themselves accordingly. Of course all of this is done using an official online declaration to ensure honesty and quality within the process.

    Thereby easily solving both the logistics and economic issues in a single blow.:ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:
  14. In relation to testing drivers. Where do you propose the testing be done? Who is going to do the test?

    In country areas it can be a 6 month wait to do the L and P course for you bike. The wait can be 1 to 2 months to do your P test for a car.

    Certainly I think there should be more training made available, but given the current availability of suitable training facilities it would be financially impractical for anyone living outside a capital city.

    As for the reasons for the bad behaviour, I'd bet that it's mostly caused by laziness and complacency. I've told this story before, but many years ago my dad was very ill and his driving was terrible. To try and convince him to stop driving we got him to do a 'driving test' with a friend of the family who was a driving instructor. Because dad knew he was being tested, he past. The only thing the instructor said was that he as a little hesitant/slow, but he past the test.
  15. "A bit more manageable"... In Victoria it works out to be about 1400 retests a day, 6 days a week (no public holidays) on a 10 year retest. There are about 40 Vicroads license testing locations in Victoria, so that works out to be 36 additional mandatory activities per day at each site, of about an hours duration each. A single testing officer should be able to manage 6 a day? So that's 6 new staff at each test location - 240people additional people in Vicroads, probably more to allow for rotation and days off, plus their HR management etc etc etc. It's not like Vicroad centres don't already have stuff to do... then you have to tweak all the licensing databases and admin...

    It'd be simpler to create better, more well trained road users out of the box.

    If someone passes a multiple choice test, have they proven their competency to be on the roads??

    I could get behind this kind of social engineering.

    Sounds just like something from Yes Minister. :)
  16. In NSW to go from Red P to Green P you have to pass a hazard perception test. I have never met anyone who has failed this.
  17. Yes the hazards perception test for NSW is pretty simple. Anyone can go and practice them on line. The hazard perception test does not apply to motorcycles as they currently are only based on time, age and other licence status for progression.
  18. I thought we were talking about retesting all licence holders, not just riders.

    Lets face it though, as a motorcyclist if you don't learn how to detect, recongise and avoid hazards, you won't be around very long.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Being serious just for a moment, while I agree with the principle of retesting, and I'd also love to see the original tests stiffened up a good bit..... this, folks, is Australia, where 98% or the population don't have any public transport alternative.

    So someone fails a retest and has their licence pulled, then what happens.... chances are they will just drive or ride anyway, since staying home and starving to death isn't an acceptable option.

    Add to that, whatever party in power in a state that brought in such sensible measures..... how long do you think they'd stay in power?
  20. You might well be right there, but, when I look around Sydney, I don't see any pressing shortage of muppets.

    At least the muppets on motorbikes can kill rather less of their friends than if they are driving Mum's 4x4 full of their mates.