For the future-driven teen dreaming of their independence, there’s no stage of life quite as exciting as getting your licence and first car! You can smell the freedom, the ability to just jump in the car and cruise off into the sunset to wherever your heart desires…so liberating; (until you realise how expensive fuel actually is!). Now all you have to do is get your L’s and P’s! That should be easy right? Well, you’ve graduated to L’plater age just in time for the QLD learner’s licence test to have been updated. So now, (of course) obtaining a learner’s licence is a slightly more arduous task. But it’s all to help you be a better, safer driver. You’ll be fine!
On the flip-side, for parents the prospect of your little boy or girl, who was only a baby ‘yesterday’ soon getting behind the wheel of a giant metal weapon can be a time of angst. You think you’ve raised them sensibly…but it’s hard not to fret. Hopefully the L’s test updates will give you a little more peace of mind.
QLD Learner’s Licence Test – What Has Changed?
The old 30 question multiple choice quiz that we knew and loved for years has been scrapped and replaced with a 380 question 4-6 hour modular lesson. To pass, teens must get 90% of the questions correct. Although longer, the test is now more of an online course, and is much more interactive. The L’s test now features activities, videos and scenarios designed to more effectively teach young people the road rules and safe driving practises.
The new learner’s course is called the PrepL, Learners are required to be at least 15 years and 11 months of age to qualify for the course, with the idea that they can finish the test in preparation for their 16th birthday, and finally get their L’s! Teens can work at their own pace, and have up to 12 months to complete the course from the date of purchase.
Key Points on Getting your L’s in QLD
- To be eligible you must be at least 15 years and 11 months old.
- Create a Transport and Main Roads (TMR) account. You may already have this if you have a proof of age card.
- Enrol in PrepL – the new Learner’s text online course (cost $24.75) If purchasing online you will need a credit card or debit card for the enrolment fee payment.
- To take the written test, it’s a good idea to have a read through ‘Your keys to driving in Queensland’, which includes a comprehensive guide to road rules in Queensland. You can download this online, or buy it from pretty much any newsagent.
- Don’t have access to a computer? For now you can still take the written road rules test; however, it’s only a matter of time until the PrepL test becomes mandatory.
- If you pass (nice one!), you are eligible to obtain a class C (car) learner licence! Look out world!
What happens if I fail my learner’s test?
Failed PrepL the first time around? No biggie, it’s a little embarrassing; but nobody needs to know. You get to have another go after 24 hours. In fact, you can repeat the test as many times as you’d like within the 12 months from purchase without any extra fees. Not that I imagine anyone would want to do that.
Upon successfully passing the test, learner drivers are then able to practise driving under the supervision of a fully licensed (open licence) passenger. If the learner driver is under 25, they must complete and log 100 hours of driving before taking the test for their provisional licence. Get the logbook app from the App Store or Google Play. Alternatively, you can keep track of your hours in a physical logbook available at any newsagent – whatever floats your boat.
This can be a testing time for families…maintaining friendly relationships within the confined space of a vehicle cabin can be more challenging than learning to drive.
So, getting professional driving lessons from a qualified instructor could be a great idea!
Benefits of getting driving lessons
It’s a good idea to get some hours with a professional instructor. Your parents might not have as much time to spare as you’d like (let’s face it, now you just wanna drive everywhere ALL the time). You can purchase lessons in bulk packages to save money.
You may like to buy a 10 hour package straight away which will cost around $550; but you’ll save $5 per hour. Some driving schools even offer bundles that cover the arrangement of a practise test, the actual practical driving test and your 5 year licence!
If you like convenience, this is a good option. If you’re a bit strapped for cash, definitely take it hour by hour. The best thing about driving with an instructor is that it counts for three hours per one hour, that means 10 hours equals 30 in your logbook.
If you’re a young person who is currently working towards obtaining their licence, you’re probably thinking “what a mission!” It is. But, there’s good reasoning behind it.
Young Driver Accident Statistics
According to the Department of Transport and Main Roads “Young drivers – the facts” report, young drivers aged between 17 and 24 are one of Queensland’s most at risk road user groups. Research suggests 16 to 24 year olds are 60% more likely to be involved in a serious accident than 25 – 59 year old drivers.
In QLD each year:
- Approx 100 fatalities (including drivers, pedestrians and passengers) occur as a result of an accident involving young drivers
- Approx 80% of young drivers involved in fatal vehicle crashes are males
- 2,000+ young drivers are involved in crashes where someone is taken to hospital
But don’t worry! You can still dream of your freedom; but it’s good to be aware of these figures and keep in mind that safety is number one as you learn to drive.
Getting your P1’s in QLD
So, you have your L’s and now you get to work toward your P’s and sweet, sweet freedom on the road. What do you need to do?
- To obtain your red P’s (P1) you must be at least 17 years old and have held your learner’s licence for 12 months or more.
- You are required to have completed 100 hours of supervised driving experience on your L’s if you are under 25 years of age; older learner’s may be eligible for an exemption.
- In some cases you may be able to apply for an exemption from having to complete the full 100 hours. For example, if you don’t have access to an eligible supervisor, proper roads or a vehicle in which to practise! In any case, make sure you’ve done enough hours to feel comfortable on the road before applying for your practical test.
- NOW IT’S TEST TIME!
Practical Driving Test
100 hours has felt like an ETERNITY; but you’re finally ready to take the test. It’s a good idea to read the Q-SAFE Practical Driving Test Guide, which includes an outline of all the twists, turns and tricky maneuvers you could be asked to perform. The guide also outlines key information on the scoring and reporting of your test. You’ll learn the types of errors you could be marked down for, and how many you can accidentally get away with before you cop an F!
What If I fail My Practical Driving Test?
Yeah, that really does suck. The likelihood in this scenario is that you were SO excited, and SO confident that you told EVERYONE you were going for your licence. Hopefully you hadn’t planned a big weekend of driving around yet. But chin up! It happens to the best of us! Here’s how long you have to wait before you can try again.
- Fail Once: Wait until the next day
- Fail Twice: Wait at least 7 days
- Fail Three Times…or More: Three strikes, you have to wait 28 days to re-sit the test. That’s a really good amount of time for your to ‘practise makes perfect’ on the areas that you’re struggling with.
If you passed…CONGRATULATIONS!!! Enjoy the experience! In twelve months time you can go for your P2’s!
Getting your P2 Provisional Licence!
On your P2 (green P’s) you are now allowed to use a hands-free phone and you don’t have any passenger restrictions (although their mustn’t be more people than there are seats and seatbelts).
If you are at least 18 years of age and have held your P1 licence for at least one year, you’ll need to pass the hazard perception test and pay a $20.45 fee. The test entails videos of traffic scenes and you need to identify any traffic hazards by clicking on it with your mouse. Your reaction time and accuracy is recorded and will determine whether or not you pass the test! It only takes 15 mins to complete; but give yourself about 45 minutes to prepare just in case.
Once you pass, you will hold your P2’s for 24 months before you can become an open licence holder. While on your P’s you must follow a 0.0 Blood alcohol limit, never exceed 100km/hr and not drive a high powered 8+ cylinder or performance modified vehicle. We want to keep you around 🙂
Congrats, you did it! You’re a fully fledged driver now. It’s time to get yourself some wheels if you haven’t already, and join the very adult world of complaining about petrol prices, people who don’t indicate, and people dropping food in your car! Woot Woot!
Hate to put a dampener on your car-shopping excitement BUT, there are a few really important things you should do when in the market for new wheels as a young driver.
Tips for young first car buyers
- Make sure you’re covered! When you’ve found your perfect first car get yourself an insurance cover note before you drive off with your new wheels. It is an absolute must. Not just to cover yourself, but third parties in case the worst case scenario happens on your way from the dealership. (Can you just imagine!)
- Buying used? Make sure you do some research on your car’s life so far by checking its history. You can get a free sample report, however, it’s worth paying a reasonably small fee for a comprehensive report. This can tell you if the car has been in any major accidents, has any general damage, and if there’s any money owing on it. You don’t want to get lumped with someone else’s bad debt!
- Maintain your car. Ask anyone you know, they’ll all remember their first car fondly, and many wouldn’t have given it up if it wasn’t for a mechanical melt-down! For most people, cars are an absolute necessity, and a pretty expensive investment! When you become dependent on your car, losing it greatly affects your everyday life. Lack of proper maintenance may mean your car deteriorates faster than it should, and could put you in serious danger. Make sure you keep up with your services, and fix any minor damage like windscreen chips urgently. Also give it a good clean and polish regularly.
The end of the road? Nah it’s just the beginning
We wish you many a great adventure on your safe and happy travels. It’s easy for any aged driver to become complacent on the road, after a while driving can really become ‘automatic’ or second-nature. Please remember there are a lot of cars on the road now, driven by people in a lot of different frames of mind. Any slight risk you take could put you, your passengers and other road users in serious danger. Always remember what a mission it was to get your licence, and that’s for a really good reason. Driving is a big deal that we’re all guilty of taking for granted sometimes, so always minimise the risk as much as possible, stay safe, and enjoy!