NSW Police have advised that they will allow learner driver’s and their supervisors to partake in driving lessons during the current COVID-19 restrictions.
The advice comes following a highly publicised incident in Victoria last week where a 17-year-old learner driver was fined for non-essential travel during a driving lesson with her mother - a decision that was later reversed.
NSW Police Chief Inspector David Cooper reminded residents that the Government's advice is to stay home and only undertake essential travel.
“Under the Public Health Orders a person cannot leave their place of residence without a reasonable excuse.
“A reasonable excuse includes travelling for the purposes of work where you cannot work from home, so driving instructors can leave their house for their work – to teach people how to drive.
“We consider that it would be a reasonable excuse for a person to leave their house to receive driving lessons (either from a driving instructor or a member of their family), given that this is a learning activity that cannot be done from home and is akin to the listed reasonable excuse of travelling to attend an educational institution where you cannot learn from home.
“Learner drivers could also continue to drive with a supervising family member for any of the listed reasonable excuses for leaving the house – for example driving to the supermarket,” Chief Inspector Cooper said.
Parkes, Forbes and Lachlan Shire Councils' Road Safety and Injury Prevention Officer, Melanie Suitor, welcomed the advice saying it gives clarity to the hundreds of local learner drivers.
"People do want to do the right thing, particularly during this health pandemic, and it's great that learner drivers, their families and driving instructors now know that driving lessons are permitted.
“We recommend that only one licensed family member or guardian accompany the learner driver for the lesson and please continue to observe and monitor all health directives.
"With many of us working or learning from home and non-essential travel banned, now is a good time for learner drivers to be on the road and get experience with the low traffic volumes. But please keep your lessons local. Drive around town, do not undertake long journeys.
"Remember that normal licence conditions still apply - such as displaying your plates, speed restrictions, a zero alcohol limit and not using a mobile phone - to name a few.
"I urge parents who will be supervising a learner driver to familiarise themselves with current road rules, licencing requirements and related road safety issues for learner drivers.
"As a supervisor there are responsibilities with the learner’s logbook and it’s important to ensure you continue to fill it out as required to record their hours under instruction whether it's the digital or paper-based logbook," Ms Suitor said.
In NSW learner drivers need to complete their logbook and record at least 120 hours of on-road supervised driving (and be 17 years old) before they can sit their practical driving test.
Last week, Service NSW announced that all practical driver assessments have been postponed for a minimum period of two months.