The graduated licensing system (GLS) was introduced to help improve the road safety of younger drivers, who are over represented in car crashes. In 2018, 14% of drivers who lost their lives were aged between 18 and 25, this is a frightening statistic to consider, when this age group only represents around 10% of Victorian licence holders. Factors contributing to this staggering road statistic include:
- poor decision-making
- willingness to take risks whilst driving
- the influence of peer passengers
- alcohol and drug use.
The graduated licensing system involves:
- learners logging 120 hours of supervised driving experience
- completing a driving test
- two-stage probationary licence
- if you’re under 21 when you get your probationary licence, you’ll become a P1 licence holder (red P plates)
- if you’re over 21 when you get your probationary licence, you’ll become a P2 licence holder (green P plates)
- P1 & P2 driving restrictions (such as passenger restrictions and a ban on mobile phone use)
- and more.
Find out more about young and new drivers at VicRoads.
Why learner drivers need 120 hours practice
Just as the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. By building experience in different conditions and locations, new drivers will be better prepared to drive on their own. Learner drivers under 21 need to log at least 120 hours of supervised driving, including 20 hours of night driving.
Tips for achieving 120 hours
- Think about the trips you already make together each week and schedule these as practice sessions and factor in a little more time for the journey.
- Practice driving in a range of conditions to build their experience:
- Weather conditions – dry, wet, stormy, foggy
- Light conditions – daytime, night-time, dawn, dusk
- Traffic conditions – light, moderate, heavy
- Road types – residential, divided/undivided, freeways, highways, roads with trams, CBD Melbourne/regional centres, rural roads, gravel roads.
- Don’t try to tackle all aspects of driving at once. A staged approach to driving practice should be considered.
How to supervise a learner driver
Learners need to be supervised by an experienced driver. To supervise a learner, you must have a current full driver licence (non-probationary). Supervising drivers must sit next to the learner at all times.
Tips for supervising drivers
- Start each driving session with a review of what happened on the last drive.
- Talk about the skills and conditions you’ll be tackling on your drive to help prepare them for what they will encounter.
- Drive in less complex conditions until their confidence and competence improves.
- Don’t introduce too many things too quickly.
- Don't force your learner to drive at speeds faster than they feel comfortable with.
- Get your learner to describe what they’re doing, planning to do, what they can see ahead and so on as they drive. This is called commentary driving and it helps the learner work through what they’re thinking and doing.
- Dealing with hazards on the road can be stressful – don’t continue if you or the learner is upset. Stop and wait until everyone is calm.
- Avoid using your phone when supervising. Keep focused on the learner and road at all times.
- Phrase feedback constructively by using ‘I’ phrases, such as, “In a situation like this I would...”
- Mistakes happen. Be mindful not to blame the driver and try to encourage them to learn from what happened.
- When something goes wrong, ask your learner how they might’ve handled the situation differently.