Learner driver tests go online

Woman putting L-plates on car. Photo: Matt Harvey

Sue Hewitt

Posted May 11, 2021

From June all aspiring Victorian drivers will be able to sit their leaner test online. Here’s what you need to know.

As thousands of aspiring drivers get ready to sit their learner test online for the first time, RACV has welcomed the new digital testing program as a step forward in improving driver safety. 

The new program, which involves both an online course and test that can be completed at home, was first made available to 500 budding drivers in Gippsland in April, with invitations issued to an additional 1000 applicants with existing test appointments each week in May. Online testing will be available to all customers from late June.

The state government says online testing will break down barriers faced by some would-be drivers, especially in regional Victoria, where transport and distance to testing centres, and limited appointment times, impact access.

RACV’s senior safety policy adviser, Elvira Lazar, says the program will also help better prepare learner drivers by building their knowledge of driving risks and safe behaviour. 

She says the online course component, which includes theory, interactive videos, visual graphics and mini quizzes that progressively test knowledge of key road-safety issues, will help both learners and their supervisors build a strong foundation before they put on their L plates.

“It is vital for all young drivers to understand the common risks that lead to crashes and more importantly what they can do to avoid putting themselves and others in danger,” she says.

She says the course builds on the topics covered in the current Road to Solo driving handbook and crucially emphasises the importance of drivers sharing the road safely with other users such as cyclists and pedestrians. 

To access the online test, customers must create a myVicRoads personal account, pay a small fee and have access to a compatible device. It takes between four and six hours to complete the course, and prospective learners have 12 months from registration to sit the actual test.

L-plate on boot of car

Online testing will be available to all customers from late June. Photo: Getty


When both the online course and test have been successfully completed, learner drivers must go to a VicRoads customer service centre in person to confirm their identity, have their photo taken and have an eyesight check.

While it is expected that online testing will eventually replace the current paper tests, those who want to sit the test in person or who need an interpreter will still attend a VicRoads customer service centre.  

It is not yet clear whether the move to online testing will help address the backlog in learner tests created by last year’s COVID lockdowns. There is currently a four-month wait for in-person learner tests in Melbourne and a three-week delay in regional Victoria. 

Wait times are shorter for driver’s licence tests, with a six-week wait in Melbourne and a four-week delay in regional Victoria. VicRoads expects waiting times for licence tests to return to pre-COVID levels by June.

To help clear its licence-testing backlog, VicRoads has set up 12 temporary test sites in Ringwood, Mulgrave, Cranbourne, South Morang, Box Hill, Kew, Essendon Fields, Coolaroo, Richmond, Narre Warren and two sites in Pakenham.

Since the resumption of licence testing in September 2020, more than 395,000 tests have been delivered and another 105,000 tests have been booked.

Seven things you need to know about the online learner’s test

It’s more engaging than the Road to Solo handbook method because it’s digital and interactive, while also building on the information on road rules and safe driving behaviour covered in the handbook.

It combines both a course in road safety and safe driving behaviour, as well as a final test.

Parents or supervising drivers are encouraged to assist would-be learners during the course to help reinforce road safety and safe driving behaviour, and review any lack of knowledge. This helps ensure the learner and supervisor are on the same page before embarking on practical driving.

The online course can be completed at the applicant’s own pace and they can return to any area, such as road rules, to ensure they know it before sitting the final test. The content can also be revisited for up to one year.

If an applicant answers a question incorrectly during the course, they get immediate feedback with the correct answer.

There is no limit on the number of times an applicant can attempt to complete the final test, but after one unsuccessful attempt there is a ‘cool down’ period of 12 hours before trying again.

It gives greater access to prospective learners who face barriers such as transport and distance to VicRoads centres and limited appointment times for sit-down tests.