Australia’s state government of Queensland has laid down a new set of changes to securing and renewing driver licenses for old-timer and new entrant drivers.
Effective before end of 2013, drivers aged 75 years old and above would have to undergo yearly medical examinations and secure medical certificates as part of requirements to renew their drivers’ licenses.
According to an earlier report by The Courier Mail, Queensland has about 160,000 licensed drivers aged 75 years old and above as of June 2011. The state government predicts the figure to grow in 2021 by 75 per cent.
“The reality is, it’s not just going to be about issuing a medical certificate or not,” Transport Minister Scott Emerson over the weekend.
“It could be that doctors could issue a medical certificate with certain restrictions, such as limiting the number of hours that someone can drive during the day, or even limiting the distance they can drive.
“I believe this is a sensible change to protect older drivers, particularly as the population ages.”
More Rigorous Tests for First-Timers
New entrant drivers meantime will be faced with rigorous tests concerning skills and attitudes tests on high-risk manoeuvres.
Mr Emerson noted younger drivers are more at risk so they have to be better and more prepared and educated when it comes to fatalities on our roads.
“Last year 84 young drivers aged 16 to 24 were involved in fatal crashes – five ahead of the previous year,” he said.
Greg Urbahn, an instructor for Indooroopilly Driving School, lauded the new reforms, noting that many young drivers don’t know how to merge safely at high speeds.
“Reverse parking is a key part of the test (at the moment) but no one can get maimed or killed by that action,” Mr Urbahn told Herald Sun.
Driving test officers will check on entrant’s high-risk manoeuvres, such as merging at high speeds and turning across oncoming traffic.
The pilot for the new test will take effect by mid-2014.
The extreme changes for old and new, young drivers were part of recommendations pushed by an expert panel, which include an overhaul of the Q-Safe driving test.