WITH new driver test reforms focusing on high-risk manoeuvres and zero tolerance to speeding, Bundaberg driving instructors say it is a positive move that will hopefully reduce the state's horrific road toll.
Bundaberg was not one of the seven sites chosen for the pilot program, but when the pilot period ends on July 25, an assessment will follow before the program is rolled out to other centres across Queensland.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said the new practical test had been under way for about six weeks.
Since then, more than 1200 tests have been undertaken at the pilot sites with a 15% increase in the fail rate.
"As part of our strong plan for a brighter future we are working to make our roads safer and the new test is part of that plan," Mr Emerson said.
"Speeding and not safely completing high-risk manoeuvres, like merging at high speeds, were among the main reasons learner drivers failed the new test.
"We make no apologies for being tough on our approach to speeding in the new test, particularly given it contributes to more than one in five road deaths in Queensland."
Bargara Beach Driving School owner Alex Avery said anything that helped prepare new drivers with the appropriate skills and experiences would benefit everyone on the road.
"From what I have read and briefs I have received, it seems like a positive move," he said.
"They are focusing on areas where there seems to be the most crashes."
More significance has also been placed on maintaining an appropriate following distance.
"As trainer drivers we try to make learner drivers very aware that maintaining a safe gap is very important," Mr Avery said.
"There are a lot of people that don't keep a safe distance and it can be quite intimidating for new drivers to look in their rear-view mirror and have someone right on you."
Mr Emerson said this was the first time in 15 years major changes had been made to the driver tests.
"This early data demonstrates we are on the right track to ensure our younger drivers develop the skills for those more dangerous situations before they get their licence," he said.