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NT Driver Training & Licensing industry - Zipper's Driving School

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Comments expressed in these columns are opinions of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of others.

50KM/H DEFAULT ACCEPTANCE

GIVE WAY TO BUSES

DTAL PROGRAM TO BE REPLACED

1 August 2005 20 August 2008 5 May 2009
If the relative lack of letters to the NT News since the introduction of the new urban 50k/h default limit in March this year is a guide, there is general acceptance of the lower limit. Of course this does not necessarily translate into a willingness to obey it!

A spate of letters in the months leading up to the introduction showed that many NT drivers resented the proposed change - a major concern being that a lower limit would unreasonably slow through-traffic on connecting roads.
Some complained that the new limit would cost them money from lower fuel efficiency through being forced to travel at less than optimum speeds and using lower gears more often.
Some even complained that extra signs would distract them!
Others simply did not want to slow down.

THOUGHTFUL IMPEMENTATION

Since the introduction of the 50km/h default limit it is obvious that the authorities have put some thought into what roads would remain at 60km/h, and roads carrying significant through-traffic have not been affected.

This contrasts with other jurisdictions - in particular suburban Adelaide S.A. where the default limit has been implemented with zeal and few suburban road have received higher postings.

LEANYER 50 km/h ZONE

Leanyer in Darwin's northern suburbs was always a 50km/h zone.
The combination of narrow winding roads and young children and local drivers* requires drivers to be particularly alert and careful.
Drivers who demonstrate appropriate awareness usually find themselves going even slower than the 50 km/h limit.

DANGEROUS LOCAL DRIVERS

*Drivers tend to be at their most dangerous in their home suburb, especially so in their own street.

There is a tendency for drivers to relax their concentration when close to home: "this is MY area, I know it well, nothing can happen to me because I'm home and safe!".
The original black-on-yellow (i.e. non-regulatory) sticker on the back of NT buses have said PLEASE Give Way.
Unfortunately many NT motorists don't bother - an extra workload for the bus driver and also contributing to the difficulty in providing the efficient public transport system which Darwin sorely needs.

NO MORE "PLEASE"


It is now MANDATORY that drivers must (if safe) give way to a bus signalling or pulling out from a bus stop into the traffic flow, or changing into your lane, on roads where the speed limit is 70 km/h or less.

This will bring us into line with most other states.

WILL IT WORK?

This remains to be seen.
Territorians are renowned for friendliness, hospitality, and consideration
Unfortunately these wonderful traits are considerably dampened when behind the wheel.
Just ask any nervous NT learner driver looking for cooperation from other drivers when trying to change lanes!

COOPERATION

We hope that NT drivers will be quick to get the idea to cooperate with bus drivers - i.e. when approaching behind a bus which is signalling to pull back out onto the road, assess the situation and prepare to give way.
Failure to give way is a $100 fine!
The NT's innovative Driver Training And Licensing (DTAL) program is under review and will be replaced by a new program to be called "DriveSafe  NT".

DriveSafe NT - a good name! - will be "evidence based", exactly how this will be implemented remains to seen.
(I for one am very cynical about so-called evidence if it is paper-based only).

The new name is an indication of the program's focus.
Too many DTAL students and some of the DTAL instructors focus only on the "licensing" aspect of the current program).

SEMINARS

As an initial part of the review process, seminars for driver trainers and assessors were held in the NT, facilitated by Dr Teresa Sensserick and Mr Ian Faulks of The George Institute.

I attended the 5th May seminar in Darwin and was well satisfied with the way it was run, and the outcomes.
Attendance was a little disappointing - I know instructors can have their "hands tied" with appointments such as driving tests, but it was disappointing nonetheless .
It was good to see that occupational therapists attended - disabled driver training & assessing is a vital part of our road safety stratagem.

A notable feature of this seminar was the absence of government officials, we felt we could open up a lot more than in the past when instructors who brought up "unpopular" subjects were overridden or ignored.
(I hope government department people all have a chance to say their piece as well).

A submission outlining my concerns with the driver training and licensing system in general is posted on this site.
You can also find my views on DTAL over the years on Evolution of DTAL page.

STEERING COMMITTEE

A steering committee has been formed with representatives from: The NT's innovative Driver Training And Licensing (DTAL) program is under review and will be replaced by a new program to be called "DriveSafe  NT".

DriveSafe NT - a good name! - will be "evidence based", exactly how this will be implemented remains to seen.
(I for one am very cynical about so-called evidence if it is paper-based only).

The new name is an indication of the program's focus.
Too many DTAL students and some of the DTAL instructors focus only on the "licensing" aspect of the current program).

SEMINARS

As an initial part of the review process, seminars for driver trainers and assessors were held in the NT, facilitated by Dr Teresa Sensserick and Mr Ian Faulks of The George Institute.

I attended the 5th May seminar in Darwin and was well satisfied with the way it was run, and the outcomes.
Attendance was a little disappointing - I know instructors can have their "hands tied" with appointments such as driving tests, but it was disappointing nonetheless .
It was good to see that occupational therapists attended - disabled driver training & assessing is a vital part of our road safety stratagem.

A notable feature of this seminar was the absence of government officials, we felt we could open up a lot more than in the past when instructors who brought up "unpopular" subjects were overridden or ignored.
(I hope government department people all have a chance to say their piece as well).

A submission outlining my concerns with the driver training and licensing system in general is posted on this site.
You can also find my views on DTAL over the years on Evolution of DTAL page.

STEERING COMMITTEE

The following organisations have been invited to send reps to form a steering committee:
  • George Institute for International Health
  • Northern Territory Police
  • Department of Planning and Infrastructure (MVR)
  • Department of Education and Training
  • Australian Automobile Association of the Northern Territory
  • Territory Insurance Office
  • Local Government Association of the Northern Territory
  • Rider Awareness Northern Territory
  • Motor Trades Association (NT)
  • Australian Driver Trainers Association
  • ADTA (NSW) Ltd
  • George Institute for International Health
  • Northern Territory Police
  • Department of Planning and Infrastructure (MVR)
  • Department of Education and Training
  • Australian Automobile Association of the Northern Territory
  • Territory Insurance Office
  • Local Government Association of the Northern Territory
  • Rider Awareness Northern Territory
  • Motor Trades Association (NT)
  • Australian Driver Trainers Association
  • ADTA (NSW) Ltd

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