Learners Resources | Eastern Driving School

Driving With Trams

Melbourne modern tram

Road Law and When You Should Give Way to Trams in Melbourne, Australia

Trams may seem a bit troublesome to drivers at times, but it’s worthwhile to consider what a valuable addition they are to Melbourne. They help to reduce traffic congestion on the roads by offering people an alternative way to travel, and they provide a safe, environmentally friendly way to cross the city. Make sure you are familiar with the rules concerning trams on the road, not only to avoid an expensive fine but also to keep everyone safe and happy as they travel.

Recognising Tramways

You will recognise a tramway because it will have overhead signs that say, ‘Tram Only’ and two solid yellow lines or raised dividing strips beside the tram tracks. Do not drive in a tramway or cross the raised dividing strips unless you need to avoid an obstacle. Otherwise, you could be fined $117.

Recognising Tram Lanes

Tram lanes have overhead signs that say, ‘Tram Lane,” and a solid yellow line beside the tram tracks. Some tram lanes are full-time, and some are part-time, in which case a sign will tell you at what times it is a tram lane. When it is outside these hours, you can drive in the tram lane.

If you need to turn right or avoid something in the road, you can drive in a tram lane for up to 50 metres. Only do so if you will not cause any delay to a tram. If you drive in a tram lane, you could be fined $117. If there are breaks in the dividing strips, you can drive through, but you must give way to trams or vehicles already on the road you are entering.

Waiting Behind a Tram

It is against the law to pass a tram when it has stopped and opened its doors. If you try to pass a tram when it has stopped, you could well be reported to Victoria Police. Be aware that they will take action!

If you are behind a tram and it stops and opens its doors, you must wait. Stay level with the rear of the tram until it has closed its doors and all of the passengers have cleared the road before you proceed. Once the doors are closed and it is safe, you can pass a stationary tram at a tram stop but you must not go any faster than 10km/h. You could be fined $292 for failure to adhere to these rules.

Safety Zones

Safety Zones are located near a tram stop and are clearly marked with a yellow sign. There will be a traffic island to protect pedestrians. You can pass a tram that is stopped at a safety zone; proceed at a slow, safe speed, be aware of pedestrians, and drive to the left of the safety zone.

Sharing the Road with Trams

Do not move into the path of an approaching tram. When you come to a roundabout, give way to all trams. If you fail to do so, you risk a fine of $204. Do not move into the path of a tram or you could be fined $117.

The Melbourne Hook Turn

When driving in Melbourne, be aware of the hook turn, a maneuver designed to keep the center of the road clear for trams. The hook turn only applies in the CBD; since cars are not allowed in tram lanes, it is not possible to have dedicated lanes for turning right. Instead, when you want to turn right, you do so from the left with the help of the traffic lights. Indicate right but stay left while your light is green so traffic and trams can pass. As your lights turn red, you complete your right turn. Remember to keep clear of the pedestrian crossings.

You must not make a U-turn across a solid line in the centre of the road or you could face a fine of $233.

Do not park near tram stops. Park at least 20 metres away, unless a sign permits parking nearer to the tram stop. The fine for parking too close is $117.

The fine for double parking is $70.

These are the current laws in Melbourne at the time of writing. Remember to adhere to them at all times to keep yourself safe, as well as other road users, pedestrians, and people using the trams. Thanks for reading and enjoy driving around Melbourne!






Medicines Can Impair Your Driving


“Taking medicine is a normal part of life for many of us, especially as we get older. But some commonly used
medicines can impair your driving ability, and can place you, your passengers and other road users at risk.
Research into senior drivers, has shown that use of benzodiazepines, a class of medicines used for sleep or
anxiety problems, increases the crash risk by 5%.”
A brochure containing this information, plus more advice about how medicines affect driving; which medicines
can impair driving and what to do if you are taking medicines, is a good resource for business. Your learner
drivers need to be aware of what medicines can affect their driving and you should be aware of what
medicines your students are taking.
The key point for all drivers is to “discuss your medicines with your doctor or
pharmacist to understand how they might affect your ability to drive safely.”
The brochure “Always ask if your medicine will affect your driving” is produced by
the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, VicRoads and Transport Accident

Driving Fatigue.

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Fatigue results in thousands of crashes every year.

What do we mean by “fatigue” You are fatigured when you become tired and can’t concentrate on your driving. You may even have a micro-sleep* or fall asleep at the wheel.

Micro- sleeps {nodding off} typically lasts between 2 and 20 seconds – but if you are travelling at 100 /h, in one second the car will have gone 28 m without you being in control.

How do we know?

Unlike alcohol-related crashes, there are no simple tests to determine if fatigue was a cause in a crash.

Investigators suspect fatigue as a cause when;

> The crash occurs late at night, early in the morning or late in the afternoon,

> A single car has run off the roadway.

> Nothing indicates the driver tried to avoid the crash {e.g. no skidmarks}

There are many warning signs for fatigue. A combination of any of the following signals that the driver is becoming fatigured and needs to take a break:

> yawning

> eyes feeling sore or heavy

> vision starting to blur

> start seeing things

> daydreaming and not concentrating

> becoming impatient

> feeling hungry or thirsty

> reactions seem slow

> feeling stiff or cramped

> driving speed creeps up or down

> starting to make poor gear changes

> wandering over the centre line or onto the road edge

What has research told us about fatigue?

Everybody needs sleep and we all have our own patterns of sleepiness and wakefulness. Fatigue {sometimes referred to as drowsiness or sleepiness} causes crashes because it slows down the driver’s reaction times and affects their scanning abilities and information processing skills.

> Although the need for sleep varies among individuals, sleeping eight hour in 24-hour period is common.

> The effect of sleep loss builds up. Regularly losing 1 to 2 hours sleep a night can create a “sleep debt” and lead to chronic sleepiness over time – and cause involuntary micro-sleeps.

> Just being in bed doesn’t mean a person has had enough sleep. Disrupted sleep has the same effect as lack of sleep. Illness, noise, activity, lights, etc, can interrupt and reduce the amount and quality of sleep.

Fatigue can strike any driver, but you are at greater risk as a young person if you:

> Combine heavy study or work with leisure and late night socialising.

> Change your sleep patterns and reduce night time sleep.

> Drink alcohol and or use other drugs.

Here are some ideas to minimise fatigue when you are driving:

> Plan to get sufficient and regular sleep. Most people need around 7-8 hours in every 24-hour period. Making do with less sleep will affect your driving.

> If you are sleepy or tired, don’t drink even small amounts of alcohol. Alcohol acts as a depressant on the central nervous system and can make you even more tired or less alert.

> Try not to drive during your normal sleeping hours. Your body works in a rhythm or pattern and when you upset this rhythm it can badly affect you.

> If possible take a taxi or a lift with another person rather than driving during your normal sleep times. {you can always pick your car up in the morning if you have to .

> Think about what activity you were doing before the drive. If it was physically or mentally demanding then fatigue may “kick in” within a few minutes of beginning the trip.

> Know the signs that indicate you are tired.

> If you are fatigued , you must stop driving. Let a passenger drive or take a short “power nap” before continuing with the trip.

> Fatigue can set in even on short local trips. If there is no alternative to travelling a short distance when you are tired then make sure you make your journey as uncomfortable as possible – too cold, noisy or windy for example. If this works it won’t work for long and if it doesn’t work you are putting yourself at great risk and you should stop.


Source: Road to Solo Driving

Suburbs Areas

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Popular Driving Lessons Areas:

Abbotsford | Albert Park | Ashburton | Ashwood | Balwyn | Balwyn North | Bayswater | Bayswater North | Belgrave | Belgrave Heights | | Bentleigh | Blackburn | Blackburn North | Blackburn South | Boronia | Box Hill | Box Hill North | Box Hill South | Burnley | Burwood | Burwood East | Camberwell | Canterbury | Caulfield | Chadstone | Cheltenham | Clayton | Croydon | Croydon Hills | Croydon North | Croydon South | Doncaster | Doncaster East | Donvale | Ferntree Gully | Glen Waverley | Glen Iris | Hawthorn | Heathmont | Hughesdale | Huntingdale | Kallista | Kalorama | Kew | Keysborough | Kilsyth | Knox | Kooyong | Kilsyth South | Lysterfield | Malvern | Melbourne | Menzies Creek | Middle Park | Mitcham | Monbulk | Mont Albert | Montrose | Mooroolbark | Mount Waverley | Mt Evelyn | Mulgrave | Nunawading | Oakleigh | Olinda | Park Orchards | Prahran | Richmond | Ringwood | Ringwood East | Ringwood North | Rowville | Sassa Fras | Scoresby | Selby | Silvan | South Yarra | St Kilda | Surrey Hills | Tecoma | Templestowe | Toorak | Tremont | Vermont | Victoria | Wantirna | Warrandyte | Warranwood | Wheelers Hill | Windsor | Wonga Park | Yarra Ranges | Australia

To see more our driving lesson areas, visit Suburb Area.

Car Maintenance for Learners

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Most learner drivers need not worry about car maintenance, as they often use their parent’s cars for practice. However, proper car maintenance is an important part of car ownership and will play an important role in a driver’s financial life. It’s thus important that learner’s know the basics of keeping cars maintained as part of their driver education.

The general guidelines are to service your car every six months or so (~10,000 km), though this varies significantly depending on your driving habits and what kind of car you drive. Building a good relationship with a mechanics is very important, as it will enable you to get a good feel for what is going on with your car at any point in time. You can also save money by servicing your car yourself, though this takes time and sometimes training.

Learners can gain an insight into what car maintenance involves by accompanying the car owner to the garage at their next service. Ask questions, and get involved!

Lessons for the Long Term

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Too many learner drivers tend to spend the duration of their permit with one goal above all else – passing the drive test and getting their probationary licence. While this may seem self-evident at first, we want to remind learners that getting their licence is actually only secondary – the main aim of learning to drive is just that, learning to drive, safely and confidently.

Anyone with enough time can get the required 120 hours. What distinguishes good drivers from bad ones is the quality of those hours. If a learner spends all their time picking up bad driving habits from their supervisors, driving in a small range of conditions and ignoring the rules of the road, they are more likely to have serious accidents and engage in ‘hooning behaviour’.

At ESDS, we focus on equipping the learner with the skills that they need to drive safely and confidently in the long run, not just well enough to get their licence. We believe that driver education leads to greater safety for everyone on our roads, and we do all we can to facilitate it.

We provide lessons at competitive rates with competent instructors. All of our instructors are patient and equipped to handle learners of any skill level. We highly recommend driving lessons to improve the quality of the learners driving, enable them to pass the probationary licence drive test and ultimately become a safe, sensible driver on the road. Give us a call to arrange your next lesson!

Driving Lessons in Winter Weather

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The winter months can be the most hazardous for drivers. Heavy rain, fog and even ice and snow all pose risks on the road. Slow traffic through peak-hour rain can provoke dangerous road-rage and driving can get ever-more aggressive at this time of the year. It’s important that learner drivers learn how to manage these risks effectively and negotiate difficult conditions safely and confidently.

There’s no time like winter to start with professional driving lessons. With ESDS, a professional instructor is there to guide learners through every aspect of driving, including parking techniques, road rules, navigation, road courtesy and, most importantly, road safety. In difficult driving conditions, it’s easy for inexperienced driver to panic. This unfortunately increases their risk of having an accident. Driving lessons builds a learner driver’s confidence and enables them to make sound decisions no matter what the conditions are like.

Our instructors will guide learners through situations particular to winter road conditions, should they arise. For example, when do you use your high-beams (fog lamps)? How fast should you go in the wet? How do you anticipate what other drivers will do in low light conditions? What will cause you to lose control of the car? All of these are important skills, not only for passing the drive test, but also for your safety in the future. Call us today to arrange your driving lesson.

Interesting Facts — Did you Know–?

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The ADTA attended the Australian College of Road Safety Conference in Melbourne in September and obtained some interesting information.

For instance……

Australia is now outside the top ten OECD countries for road fatalities. The safest countries are Sweden, The Netherlands and The United Kingdom.

By 2020 road deaths will be the third most common cause of death

10% of drivers are involved in 50% of crashes

Fatigue contributes to 20% of crashes

90% of crashes are due to the behaviour / performance of the driver as opposed to driving conditions, vehicle malfunction or road structures.

A teenage driver travelling with a teenage passenger is 50% more likely to be involved in a crash.

Ten years ago there was only 5 one star ANCAP rated cars available. Now three quarters of new cars have 4 or 5 stars.

A 2 star car has double the accident / injury risk of a 5 star car.

Probationary drivers would be 80% safer if they drove 5 star cars, which would equate to 15% less road fatalities.

Wire rope barriers and bitumen on the side of roads with ripple strips lead to a 60%-90% decrease in serious injuries and fatalities.

Sweden has a default speed limit of 70kmph, compared with ours which is 100kmph

{Information provided by Australian Driver Trainers Association {Vic} Inc.

Driving Lessons and Safety

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Young drivers are at the highest risk of any age group when it comes to fatal car accident statistics. Although Learner drivers are new to the roads and generally have no prior experience driving, they have the lowest fatality rate of any age group on our roads. Why do young drivers go from being innocuous to the most dangerous demographic of drivers? It’s all got to do with attitude. Young drivers relish the freedom when they finally obtain their P’s. As a consequence, there’s a lot that can go wrong.

Learning to drive without a qualified instructor is detrimental to the ability of young drivers. Though many parents are confident and often considered ‘good’ drivers, bad habits naturally accumulate with age. These are transferred to your children, possibly by accidental misinformation or lenient supervision. It’s nothing personal – we’re all human and make mistakes, after all, but don’t you want the best for your child?

Most learner drivers need some formal instruction to simply pass their Probationary Licence Test – parent supervision alone isn’t usually enough. However, to further ensure their safety on the roads, you need a patient, knowledgeable instructor who will guide your child through the ins and outs of driving. Doing so will enculture them with safe driving habits, making them less likely to take dangerous risks on the road.

Henceforth, Eastern Suburbs Driving School’s mission is to create drivers who will not only pass their P plate test, but also make safe, rational decisions on the road to protect themselves and those around them.

Parents of Young Learner Drivers

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As much as we’d like to, the driving school can’t be there for all 120 hours prior to a learner’s P-plate test. The young driver must build independence and confidence by driving with a parent; developing and practicing the skills they have gained in their lessons. Parents play a crucial role in the development of a young learner driver, as many of their driving habits are passed on to their children. This can pose a problem if these habits are not conducive to proper driving technique.

It’s essential that all parents with children who are learning to drive brush up on the road safety rules, and know where their own technique’s strengths and weaknesses lie. This way, they can be more wary of passing along their errors. A few examples would include placement of feet in an automatic car, or starting the car in an improper fashion. These mistakes, though minor, can contribute to the failure of a drive test.

To ensure that your young learner driver learns the best driving habits, we recommend that you book regular driving lessons with the Eastern Suburbs Driving School. Our driving instructors impart correct, time-honoured techniques of driving to ensure that their students are amongst the safest on the roads. As a result, we have on of the highest first-time pass rates around.

A mixture of lessons and independent practice is essential for the development of a young learner driver. Parents who follow this strategy and brush up on the road rules before taking their child out on the road are destined for success. Who knows – you might even learn something about your own driving!

For more information contact us at Eastern Suburbs Driving School.

The Journey of a Young Learner Driver

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It’s a fact that teenagers love independence. The thrill of breaking out into the world is universally appealing; going places, meeting people and building a life outside of school and home. Teens on the verge of adulthood, often around eighteen, are generally just finishing their studies and beginning to understand how the world works. There are just as many risks, of course, as there are assured benefits for these young men and women. Getting one’s first car is one of those great moments in any person’s life – not just as a practical means of transportation, but also as a symbol of freedom and independence. Once a teenager gets their P-plates, a brand new world is essentially opened up to them. They’re no longer relegated to the complicated realm of public transport or forced to bum rides off their parents, guardians or peers.

With such freedom, though, comes a considerable degree of responsibility. It’s a tragic fact of life that road fatalities are highest amongst drivers in their early twenties. This is often the result of inadequate road education. Learning road skills isn’t just about memorising the ‘highway code’ of road rules. It’s also about avoiding reckless behaviour, developing courtesy for other drivers and ultimately responsible driving. The best way to ingrain this kind of safe, rational driving attitude is through professional driving lessons, with a qualified instructor. At ESDS, for example, we teach skills that will stick with drivers for many years to come, ensuring safety on the road and sound behaviour. Explore our website for more.

Special Deals

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We have a selection of special offers available for those who wish to book a series of lessons. These are a great way to start off the learning process, arranging for a progression of lessons that teach you new skills as you develop. If you are a parent of a young driver, these special deals provide excellent value for money as well as high quality of service.

Our promotional package deals can be found elsewhere on our website . Simply by browsing these pages, you are eligible for one of our package discounts. For example, if you buy five driving lessons, you can get one free. This represents a saving of $55. Or, book a series of  ten lessons, and you can save an incredible $110. ESDS provides some of the best value for new drivers, as well as those needing to consolidate their skills for the final test. Peruse our special packages page, and quote one of the codes when booking your next group of lessons. It’s great value, and a convenient way to get quality instruction.

Safety and Reliability

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ESDS is a family-run business that you can trust. We’ve been teaching young drivers sound road skills for years, and that’s why we believe that we have some of the best experience in the business. We pride ourselves on providing a safe learning environment that encourages mature and responsible driving, as well as courtesy on the road. Driving with a professional instructor is the best way to develop proper awareness of the road rules, and ESDS can provide the reliability and reassurance essential for learning these vital skills.

Once you book an appointment with us, either online or by phone, one of instructors will spend time assessing your driving ability and any potential areas for improvement. He or she will then guide you through the driving process, giving feedback and suggestions to help you improve. Our rates include pick-up and drop-off from and to your desired location, so lessons with us are convenient and require a minimum of fuss. Before your lesson, it’s a great idea to browse our website and look through our resources for learner drivers – our FAQ section, for example, has some very useful tips and tricks. Browse around, and book your lesson today!

What is the two second rule ?

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The two second rule is about the following distance behind the vehicle in front.

The following distance is the space or gap between you and the vehicle in front.

You must keep your vehicle a safe distance from any vehicle in front of you. A safe distance should be enough to allow time to slow down and avoid trouble.

You should be at least two seconds behind the vehicle in front. You can check this by a simple test:

>> Focus on a marker in the distance such as a signpost or tree and note when the vehicle in front passes the marker, then count the number of seconds before your vehicle passes the same marker. Ask your supervising driver to also do this and compare your results.

If your count is not at least two seconds then you are to close.

At least two seconds of time and the distance this represents under ideal driving conditions are necessary to give you time to react to any changes which may happen.

Often, you may need more than two seconds,

This includes:

>> when visibility is poor

>> if conditions are dark

>> if conditions are wet or slippery

>> when you have a heavy load

>> when the road is unmade

You need to develop your judgement skills about what distance at different speeds represents two seconds. This skill will only come with lots of supervised driving experience.

But remember , under any conditions that are less than ideal, a longer gap is recommrnded.

Souce:  The Road to Solo Driving

Driving Crashes Types and Causes

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Drivers of all ages are involved in crashes. However, young drivers have more crashes than others and are more likely to be involved in the same types of crashes.

Two important things that can help reduce the involvement of young people in road crashes are:

1  Having plenty of driving practice during the learner period.

2  Slowing down to provide plenty of space and time to be able to react to the unexpected.

Common errors made by learner drivers are often as a result of:

>> Not scanning the environment well.

>> Misjudging the speed of other vehicles, particularly oncoming cars.

>> Travelling too close to other vehicles.

>> Travelling too fast, both for the road conditions and for their level of experience.

>> Being overconfident in their ability.

>> Speeding.

>> Inattentiveness or fatigue.

The three most common crash types for young drivers involve:

A  Both turning and driving straight ahead at intersections.

B  Rear end crashes.

C  Veering off the road to the left.

A. Both turning and driving straight ahead at intersections

Why do young people become involved in this type of crash ?

>> Poor or insufficient scanning of the driving environment.

>> Not judging the gap in the traffic well.

>> Overconfidence in driving ability.

>> Speeding.

>> Reliance on other drivers to avoid a crash.

B. Rear end crashes

Why do young people become involved in this type of crash ?

Driver at rear :

>>  Speeding.

>>  Not enough space left between vehicles.

>>  Relying on other drivers to avoid a crash.

>>  Driver distraction.

>>  Misjudging the required stopping distance.

Driver in front: 

>>  Driver distracted.

>>  Not doing enough or any mirror or head checks.

>>  Indicating intentions late or not at all.

>>  Misjudging stopping distance, and late braking.

C.    Veering off the road to the left.

Why do young people become involved in this type of crash?

>>  Speeding.

>>  Lack of steering control.

>>  Distraction from the driving Task.

>>  Fatigue.

Source:   ATSB   Key Facts for New Drivers


Driving for the conditions 2

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Why is it often safer to lower your speed limit to below the posted speed ?

Busy roads are full of unexpected problems. A child may see its parents on the opposite side of the road and dart across without looking. You may be in control of your vehicle but you can’t control what other road users may do.

If you reduce your speed, you have more time to react to an unexpected situation.

When roads are wet and slippery it takes much longer for your vehicle to come to a stop after applying the brakes. When it rains after a long period of dry weather it is even more important to go slower, as the rain mixes with oil and dust on the road, making it even more slippery than usual.

Bright sunlight can blind you just for a moment when a hazard appears in the distance. If you are travelling at a slower speed you have time to react safely.

If you are travelling in an unfamiliar area, you will not be aware of the dangers that are around. By slowing down, even by 5 km/h, you give yourself an opportunity to see any hazards and more time to react.

Remember, the slower you go, the more time you have to react to unexpected situations.

Source:  ATSB  Key Facts For New Drivers

The new Victorian driver licence

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From 23 November 2009, VicRoads is introducing a new and more secure learner permit, probationary licence and driver licence.

VicRoads will no longer issue these over the counter at its Customer Service Centres.

When you obtain, renew or replace your licence VicRoads will mail it to you within about a week.

You will be given a temporary driver licence receipt which you can use until your new licence arrives.

Your old licence remains current until its expiry date and there is no extra cost for this new, more secure licence.

Why the Change

There has been an increase in the illegal use of driver licences to commit fraud.

The new licence has improved security including a new clear, see through section in the centre of the licence.

These features will protect the personal information of the licence holder and make it more difficult to use the licence fraudulently.

This new licence will be manufactured at a highly secure , centralised facility using state-of-the-art technology and advanced printing processes. That’s why you will receive it by mail not on the spot at VicRoads Customer Service Centres.

Source VicRoads Licensing




Driving For The Conditions 1

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Imagine you are in a 60 Km/h zone

In which of the following situations would you slow down ?

When travelling near or through a shopping centre

When near a school zone just before school begins or after school ends

When there is more traffic than usual

When it is raining heavily

When it is raining lightly

When the sun blinds you for a moment

When there are road works

When the area you are driving in is unfamiliar to you

The answer is in every one of the situations listed above

Speed limit signs indicate Maximum speeds allowable

In every State and Territory of Australia you must adjust your travelling speed below the posted limit if the driving conditions mean that the maximum speed is unsafe.

It is not enough to be within the law: you need to be in control and able to cope with the unexpected.

Being legally in the right is not much comfort once:

* your car is off the road damaged, or

* you or someone else is injured or dead.

Source   Key Facts For New Drivers

Some Facts About Driving

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In Victoria, there are several hundred thousand crashes every year.

These crashes are not accidents – they are due to drivers making mistakes.

Not all driving mistakes result in a crash. Think about the mistakes you’ve seen drivers make without causing a crash:

-cutting off other cars

-not giving way

-misjudging gaps

-trying to overtake when it’s not safe

-just not seeing other road users

If driving is so easy, why do so many drivers regularly make mistakes, sometimes resulting in crashes?

All young drivers face the same challenges because driving is complicated. It requires a lot of time and effort to become a good driver.

Research has shown that a minimum of 120 hours of supervised practice as a learner and restrictions on new solo drivers for the first few years, can help reduce the risk of a crash. This is why Victoria has introduced the Graduated Licensing System, including the mandatory 120 hours to be completed in the Learner Log Book  by those aged under 21 years of age when applying for a Probationary Licence.

Source VicRoads Road to Solo Driving

Australian Driver Trainers Association Conference

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The conference is being held at the Bayview Eden in Melbourne. Sunday Date 18-10-09 Time 1.30 To 5.30. The conference is sponsored by VicRoads ,the TAC, the Victorian Taxi Directorate, the RACV and Rowland house.You will hear from guest speakers on The latest road safety trends,Road infrastructure Improvement initiatives,Lessons from the Police and accident investigators,Updates from VicRoads on Graduated Licensing. People who are interested in attending call ADTA  Andrew Judkins 03 9809 5777

Changes To Victorian Road law as Of November 2009

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The new road rules will be effective from 9 November 2009, the changes will improve road safety and make road rules more consistent across Australia.

The Key Changes are:

Line Marking {centre driving line}



Mobile phones and visual display units



Wheeled recreational devices

Driving with trams

Drivers and Riders {other rules] Visit

Child Restraints *announced in may 2009

For full reference to road rule changes visit  www.vicroads.vic.gov.au


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Probationary drivers are over-represented in crashes, particularly in their first year of solo
driving. Studies have shown that a minimum of 120 hours supervised driving practice as
a learner is associated with reduced risk of crashing in the first year of solo driving.
VicRoads, TAC and other bodies have implemented programs to encourage and facilitate
the accumulation of 120 hours of supervised driving practice. Beginning in 1999,
VicRoads and TAC commissioned a series of surveys to evaluate the success of these
programs. Each survey samples a cross-section of learner and newly licenced drivers at
different stages of the learner permit period. Responses are used to estimate learner
drivers’ hours of supervised driving practice and professional lessons. The results of the
2004 survey stated that estimated total of hours of supervised driving has risen
substantially since the first survey, and this paper demonstrates where the increases
have occurred as well as charting the variety of driving experience accumulated.
Respondents’ exposure to and perceived helpfulness of the programs is assessed.
Hindrances to practice, attitudes towards supervised practice, and respondents’ thoughts
on what would encourage more practice are also reported.
Probationary drivers are over-represented in crashes, particularly in their first year of solo
driving (VicRoads 2006). For more than three decades, the problem of inexperience has been
recognised as a primary contributing factor to crash involvement for novice drivers (see for
example: Pelz & Schuman 1971, Spolander 1983, Levy 1990, Drummond et al. 1993, Cavallo &
Triggs 1996 [cited in Gregersen 2000]).
Studies have shown that a minimum of 120 hours supervised driving practice as a learner is
associated with a 30% reduction in risk of crashing in the first two years of solo driving
(Gregersen 2000). VicRoads, TAC and RACV have implemented programs to encourage and
facilitate the accumulation of 120 hours of supervised driving practice. These include:
• VicRoads’ Keys Please seminars
• VicRoads’ Getting There: from Ls to Ps booklet
• VicRoads’ L Site website
• VicRoads’ Learners Log webpage
• TAC HELP Information Pack
• TAC Drive Smart CD ROM
• RACV Parent Plus driving school program.
TAC has also implemented advertising campaigns on television, radio, print media and roadside
billboards emphasising the importance of 120 hours of supervised practice.
Commencing in 1999, VicRoads and TAC commissioned a series of surveys to evaluate how
successful these programs have been in increasing the number of hours that learner drivers
spend in supervised driving practice. The surveys were conducted in 1999, 2000, 2004 and
2005. ARRB has published reports for the surveys conducted up to 2004 (see Catchpole &
Stephenson 2001, Catchpole & Coutts 2002, Catchpole & Pyta 2005). This paper reports on the
changes in the number of hours of supervised practice accumulated by learner drivers observed
in the 2004 survey. Respondents’ exposure to and perceived helpfulness of the programs are
assessed. Hindrances to practice, attitudes towards supervised practice, and respondents’
thoughts on what would encourage more practice are also reported.
The sample consisted of 1322 learner permit holders and 209 newly licenced drivers. The
sample of current learner permit holders was stratified by length of time holding the learner
permit. Both the samples of current learner permit holders and newly licenced drivers were
stratified by region, sex and age when the learner permit was acquired.
There are naturally fewer learners living outside of Melbourne and fewer learners in the first two
stages of the learner permit period. To obtain reliable estimates of driving experience for these
groups, they were deliberately over-sampled. The survey response data was weighted prior to
analysis to account for this over-sampling and to ensure the results were representative of all
Victorian learner permit holders.
The study is cross-sectional as it samples at one point in time a cross-section of learner drivers
during four ‘stages’ of the learner permit period. The stages are defined as:
Stage 1: 1-91 days after obtaining a learner permit (first 3 months)
Stage 2: 92-212 days after obtaining a learner permit (4th to 7th months)
Stage 3: 213-1461 days after obtaining a learner permit (balance of the first 4 years)
Final stage: last 28 days before acquiring a probationary licence.
Survey Procedure
Roy Morgan Research recruited and interviewed respondents for the surveys. VicRoads
supplied Roy Morgan with quotas based on the desired stratified sample and the name and
address of 16,496 current learner permit holders and 2782 newly licenced drivers. The surveys
were conducted using Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing.
Analysis procedure
The average amount of driving experience accumulated by drivers over the whole learner permit
period was calculated by:
1. Identifying people in stages 1 to 3 who might actually be in the final stage of the learner
permit period and then multiplying their weighting factor by 0.4081 to reduce their
influence (because these people spend more time practising per week).
2. Multiplying the average amount of driving per week during each stage by the average
amount of time spent in that stage to give an estimate of the amount of driving experience
accumulated in each stage.
3. Negating the bias which is present for stage 3 (people who spend less time in stage 3
also tend to do more driving per week in stage 3) by multiplying the estimated amount of
experience by a correction factor of 0.8982.
1 This weight was also calculated from data in the 1999 survey when the date of licence acquisition was available.
4. Adding together the estimates of the amount of driving experience accumulated in each
stage to give an estimate of the total accumulated hours of driving experience over the
whole learner permit period.
Time holding a learner permit
The average time holding a learner permit was 82.7 weeks in 1999 and 83.9 weeks in 2000. In
2004, learner drivers held their learners permit for an average of 86.3 weeks before graduating
to a probationary licence.
Professional driving lessons
Time spent in professional driving lessons is generally low in the first three stages. Most
learners in this group reported not having had a lesson in the last four weeks, and the average
time spent in lessons for this group (including learners who had no lessons) was 4 to 7 minutes
per week. The average increases to 58 minutes per week in the last four weeks before they
attempt their licence test. On average:
• the total time spent in professional lessons over the whole learner permit period was 10.4
hours, a drop of 5% since the 2000 survey
• females spent more time in professional lessons than males
• learners from Melbourne spent more time in professional lessons than learners from the
rest of Victoria.
The latter two figures did not differ significantly between the 2000 and 2004 surveys.
Supervised driving practice
Time spent in supervised practice averaged 52 to 64 minutes per week in the first three stages,
increasing to 160 minutes per week in the final stage. In addition, 83-90% of learners reported
having undertaken supervised practice in the last week. On average:
• the total time spent in supervised practice over the whole learner permit period was 83.6
hours, an increase of 11% from the 2000 survey
• males spent more time in supervised practice per week than females in the first three
• learners from Melbourne spent less time in supervised practice during the first three
stages but more time than country Victorians in the final stage.
Total driving experience
The total supervised driving experience over the whole learner permit period (comprising
professional lessons and supervised driving practice) averaged 94.1 hours, an increase of 9.5%
since 2000. On average, total driving time was:
• lower for females (82.7 hours) than for males (106.2 hours)
• lower for Melbourne learners (90.1 hours) than for residents of provincial centres (96.8
hours) and the rest of Victoria (112.0 hours)
• substantially higher for learners who acquired their permit at age 16 (124.8 hours) versus
at age 17 (71.0 hours) versus at age 18 to 20 (57.5 hours).
2 This correction factor was calculated for the 1999 survey when VicRoads was able to supply information about the
date of licence acquisition. From 2000 onwards, VicRoads was unable to supply this information, and so the correction
factor calculated in 1999 has been applied to subsequent years’ data.
Proportionately, experience was gained through 11% professional lessons and 89% supervised
practice. The proportion of experience gained through professional lessons was higher for:
• females than males
• learners from Melbourne than learners from the rest of Victoria
• learners who acquired their permit at age 17 or 18 to 20 years than those who acquired
the permit at 16.
Variety of driving conditions experienced
Compared with the 2000 survey, the variety of driving conditions that learner drivers were
exposed to increased by a statistically significant 25% in stage 3 (although the changes in the
other stages were smaller and not significant). Country Victorians generally gained greater
variety of experience than Melbourne learners and male learners generally gained greater
variety of experience than female learners in the first three stages.
Recognising the importance of supervised experience
When asked how many hours of experience they believed a learner needs to accumulate before
attempting the probationary licence test, 33-45% answered in the 101-150 hour range. Around
half of all learners reported that they kept a record of their driving practice, and there were
significant increases since 2000 in the number of learners keeping record of their driving
practice across three of the four stages.
Programs to increase learner driver experience
The programs are listed in order of greatest audience exposure:
• VicRoads’ Getting There: from Ls to Ps booklet
– information for supervising drivers and learners regarding safely and effectively
managing the process of learning to drive
– 73-81% of respondents received the booklet
– considered helpful by 59-70% of those who received it, but 15-20% said they had not
read it
• TAC HELP Information Pack
– information for supervising drivers and learners regarding safely and effectively
managing the process of learning to drive
– 45-67% of respondents had received the pack
– 42-64% of those found it helpful
• VicRoads’ Keys Please seminars
– dissemination of information to supervising drivers and learners regarding safely and
effectively managing the process of learning to drive
– 24% of respondents had attended by stage 3
– considered helpful by 87-100% of those who attended
• VicRoads’ L Site website
– interactive quizzes prompting learners to think about how their driving is progressing
and practical advice about how to improve their driving
– 11-25% of respondents had visited the website
– 71-83% of those who visited the site found it helpful
• TAC Drive Smart CD ROM
– interactive driving scenarios and quizzes designed to help learners make safe
judgements and improve real-world driving skill
– 9-25% % of respondents had used the CD ROM program
– 66-81% of those found it helpful
• TAC Learners Log webpage
– interactive website allowing learners to keep record of the hours and variety of
supervised practice they do
– 1-5% of respondents had visited the website
– 72-87% of those who visited the site found it helpful
• RACV Parent Plus driving school program
– a learner who has professional lessons with RACV DriveSchool can receive one lesson
free of charge if they bring a parent along for their lesson
– 0-3% of learners had taken part in the program.
Hindrances to practice
Most respondents (68%) reported that there was nothing limiting their involvement in
professional lessons, although a moderate proportion reported that lessons were too expensive
(10%) or that they didn’t have time for lessons (13%).
Similarly, most respondents (67%) reported that there was nothing limiting their involvement in
supervised practice; although a moderate number stated that they were too busy (18%).
Respondents who were living with at least one parent were much more likely to obtain the
learner permit at age 16, to report that their usual supervisor is a parent and to have two or
more cars and two or more supervisors available for practice. They also averaged more hours
practising per week, and were less likely to report hindrances to practice.
Attitudes towards supervised practice
When asked what would reduce the number of probationary driver crashes, 21-34% of
respondents recognised more driving practice as learners as an important protective factor.
Encouraging more supervised practice
When asked what would encourage learners to do more supervised practice, one third were
unable to answer, and the most popular responses were to allow more time and more access to
a car.
There were some encouraging trends revealed in the 2004 survey. A moderate increase in
hours of driving experience prior to attempting the probationary licence test was observed. This
increase was the result of increases in the average time for which the learner permit is held and
increases in the average time spent practising per week in stage three. The variety of driving
conditions experienced also increased significantly.
Exposure to the programs intended to encourage and facilitate new drivers to accumulate their
120 hours of supervised driving practice was good. Most respondents were aware of at least
one of the programs, and most found them useful. Although these results are encouraging,
causation cannot be definitively attributed to them, as we cannot control for other potential
influencing factors.
There are some methodological issues to allow for when considering these results. Firstly, the
sampling method was changed in 2004 to be stratified on the respondent’s age when they
obtained their learners permit, where previously it had been stratified on the respondent’s age at
the time of the survey. This change occurred because results from the 1999 and 2000 surveys
revealed that the total driving experience accumulated by learner permit holders is closely
related to their age at the time of obtaining the learners permit.
Some systematic sampling bias may also have occurred due to potential respondents not being
available when the interviewers attempted to call. This rate was higher for newly licenced
drivers than learners. In future surveys, a higher call back rate will be stipulated for newly
licenced drivers.
This survey used a cross-sectional method to estimate total driving experience over the whole
learner permit period. Another method is simply to ask newly licenced drivers to estimate their
total driving experience. When these two methods were compared, the results showed that the
latter method tended to overestimate total driving experience by about 39% when compared
with the cross-sectional method. Therefore, simply asking newly licenced drivers to recall their
total practice is not a reliable method of gauging the total supervised driving experience
accumulated. It is possible that this over-estimate is influenced by a desire on the part of newly
licenced drivers to meet the ideal 120 hours of practice which is prominent in TAC advertising.
Importantly, the surveys reveal potential target audiences who would benefit most from
increased attention in future programs. These include:
• learners who do not get the learner permit until age 17 or older
• learners not living with a parent
• females
• learners living in Melbourne.
Catchpole, J and Coutts, M 2002, Continued monitoring of driving experience among learner
drivers: 1999-2000, Research Report ARR 357, ARRB Transport Research, Vermont South Vic.
Catchpole, J and Pyta, V 2004, Learner driver experience monitoring 2004, Research Report
365, ARRB Group, Vermont South Vic.
Catchpole, J and Stephenson, W 2001, Monitoring driving experience among learner drivers,
Research Report ARR 355, ARRB Transport Research, Vermont South, Vic.
Gregersen, NP 2000, ‘Sixteen years age limit for learner drivers in Sweden – an evaluation of
safety effects’, Accident Analysis & Prevention 32(1) pp.25-35.
VicRoads 2006, Young Driver Safety and Graduated Licensing Program: Discussion Paper,
viewed 10 August 2006
VicRoads, Kew, Victoria.

Source: Victoria Pyta, ARRB Group, victoria.pyta@arrb.com.au
John Catchpole, ARRB Group, john.catchpole@arrb.com.au

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