Cracking down on corrupt driving instructors

The Marshall Government is cracking down on corrupt driving instructors and is developing a suite of reforms to strengthen and improve behaviour and standards within the industry.

Driving instructors play a crucial role teaching teenagers and new drivers and equipping them with the driving and road safety skills to keep them and others safe on our roads.

A State Government survey has shown there is strong community and industry support to reform the sector to stamp out inappropriate and corrupt behaviour in the industry, with;

  • 85 per cent of industry participants were aware or very aware of corruption in the industry;
  • 73 per cent of industry participants felt a review was long overdue;
  • 65 per cent of industry participants believe that the CBT&A (rather than VORT) is the most consistent method for safer drivers; and,
  • 28 per cent of community participants did not feel confident with all of their driving skills after gaining their full driver’s licence.

“The results of the survey are actually quite alarming with the vast majority of driving instructors surveyed being aware of corruption within the industry,” said Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government Stephan Knoll.

“We have had reports of driving instructors accepting bribes, misrepresenting their accreditation, engaging in inappropriate behaviour with minors or engaging in other business – some of these have led to convictions.

“If novice drivers aren’t being trained to an acceptable level this not only jeopardises the safety of the new driver themselves, but also everyone else on our roads.

“Driving instructors have a huge responsibility to equip teenagers and new drivers will the road safety and driving skills that could one day help save their life on the road and keep others safe too.

“That’s why we will work with industry to develop a suite of reforms to stamp out corruption and inappropriate behaviour.

“Over the last four years people under the age of 30 have tragically accounted for 30 lives lost on our roads each year on average.

“Our reforms will help ensure teenagers and new drivers are getting the best possible driving and road safety education so when they get their full licence they are as safe as possible on our roads.

“We will now undertake further consultation with industry on the full suite of our reforms and progress many measures industry have already shown support for.

“These include regular tougher entry requirements, tougher sanctions for poor performance, increased penalties for breaches for unacceptable behaviour and greater transparency of auditing.”

Examples of corrupt and inappropriate behaviour include;

  • the issue of licences to applicants who have not demonstrated competency;
  • including accepting bribes; engaging in other business activities whilst training or assessing applicants for a licence;
  • engaging in inappropriate behaviour with minors;
  • engaging in other deceptive behaviour such as misrepresenting their accreditation;
  • omitting mandatory components of a driving test or refusal to issue receipts for monies paid by a client; and,
  • training applicants for a licence on testing routes.

The survey revealed that the solutions industry are most receptive to, which will be considered as part of a suite of reforms, are as follows:

  • Provide regular training in road rules and safe driving practices to the driver training industry;
  • Implement tougher sanctions on poor performing industry members;
  • Publication of DPTI’s auditing framework;
  • More engagement with DPTI;
  • Require a Working with Children Check for all industry members;
  • Implement tougher entry requirements into the industry;
  • Introduce greater accountability for all industry members;
  • Introduce penalties for breaches of acceptable behaviour and standards e.g. warnings, expiations and prosecutions;
  • Each industry member to be responsible to maintain and improve their own skills and knowledge;
  • Greater accountability of MDI’s generally e.g. regular audits and hold appropriate insurances;
  • Requirement to keep records of clients (e.g. when lessons or tests were undertaken); and,
  • Implement an online register of MDI’s, AE’s and RTO’s to enable the community to make an informed decision as to which provider best suits their needs.
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