As well as mandatory masks for instructors and students, in line with government requirements, RACV’s Drive School COVIDSafe Plan also includes a range of sanitisation and contact tracing procedures.
Lydia says the safety measures start from the time of booking a lesson, when students who present as unwell are asked to postpone their lesson to a later date. Between each lesson instructors disinfect all hard services and there is an emphasis on thorough hand hygiene as well as ensuring fresh air circulation during lessons through car ventilation systems or open windows.
“Students can feel assured that we are doing everything necessary to ensure that their safety is priority at all times,” she says.
The RACV Drive School reopening comes as VicRoads works through a backlog of around 80,000 driving tests in metropolitan Melbourne which were postponed when licence testing was suspended from 25 March to 15 June and again on 8 July. The two shut downs have also created long waiting lists for those wanting to sit their learner and hazard perception tests.
It will take a little bit of time to get through the list of those waiting to take a test – we've got a plan for doing this safely and as quickly as possible and are grateful for everyone’s continued patience.
VicRoads says it will prioritise those whose tests were suspended during the lockdowns and refund booking fees for those affected.
Meanwhile the state government has announced plans to “turbo-charge” licence testing to help clear the backlog, by hiring hundreds of additional testing offers and opening 12 temporary testing sites around Melbourne. The government expects the additional resources with enable VicRoads to deliver up to 11,000 licence tests and 16,500 online learner permit tests each week in Melbourne.
From early next year learner driver and hazard perception tests will be offered online, with applicants completing the tests remotely over a secure system.
RACV’s Lydia Kendray says learner drivers waiting to sit their tests should take the opportunity to brush up on their skills and make sure they are fully prepared. Many learners may not have had the opportunity to keep up their driving practice during lockdown, especially after early confusion over whether parents were allowed to take their children for driving lessons.