Major licence change allows 'easier access' for Aussie drivers

Hundreds of thousands of unlicensed drivers are expected to soon enrol to take their Ls test after a huge overhaul to the system.

A digital driver licence is seen inset over the top of a traffic jam. The NSW learner licence test will be available to be sat online from today.
Not only is it now easier to physically take the learner driver's test, but NSW drivers will be able to save money too. Source: Service NSW/Getty

Unlicensed drivers will now be able to take their learner's test from the comfort of their own home in a new move aimed at "giving easier access" to people "in regional or remote locations" in one Australian state.

NSW residents looking to take their Driver Knowledge Test (DKT) were formerly required to attend a Service NSW centre to complete the exam, but will now be able to do it from home — or anywhere with internet — as many times as needed to pass.

While targeting those who live outside of the state's main cities, road authorities say the change will have a whole range of benefits for prospective drivers. Not only is it now easier to physically take the test, "a fee of $55 is only paid" when people come into the centre after passing the test to "have a photo taken".

Transport for NSW (TfNSW) Deputy Secretary, Safety, Environment and Regulation, Sally Webb, said the entire DKT experience had been modernised. "We know that learning has changed over the years and this new digital, accessible and interactive product is a reflection of how people learn today," Webb said.

"It gives easier access to the test to people who are in regional or remote locations who may not live close to a Service NSW Centre and it also has text to speech functionality which makes the product accessible for people with low literacy or dyslexia.

A teenager logging on to Service NSW site to take her learner driver test.
NSW residents looking to take the Driver Knowledge Test will now be able to do it from home. Source: Service NSW

"It provides a cost-benefit because the test can be taken as many times as needed to pass, and a fee of $55 is only paid when you come into the Service NSW Centre to apply for your learner licence and have your photo taken."

In another benefit, authorities say "by going online, this means students don’t need to miss out on school or extra curricular activities to visit a Service Centre to complete the test".

"The DKT online is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week," Service NSW's Lauren Nagel said.

"If customers are unsuccessful passing, learners won’t have the hassle of organising another visit to a Service Centre and trying to find a time that works with parents or guardians to drive them there, they can simply try again at home."

“Within 12 months, we’re expecting about 200,000 customers to complete the DKT online so this will also free up our Service NSW team members to dedicate their time to other critical transactions."

The online DKT can now be accessed by those aged 15 years and 11 months.

A teenager logging on to Service NSW site to take her learner driver test.
Prospective drivers can take the test aged 15 and 11 months, and if they pass, can formally apply on their 16th birthday. Source: Service NSW

When future learner drivers pass, they simply need to visit a Service NSW Centre on their 16th birthday to apply for the licence. Similar products for learners have already had success in Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.

Meanwhile, calls are growing for enhanced training among learner drivers in general, and in particular, making first-aid courses mandatory for all learners to help curb the surging road toll across Australia.

Natalie Watson-Brown, a young driver expert and research fellow at Queensland University of Technology told Yahoo News young drivers are "highly overrepresented in crashes" and that more needs to be done to help save Aussie lives.

Australians can enrol to take the DKT online here.

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