Graduated Driver Licensing in Australia

Parents in Australia Can Count Professional In-Car Training Time Toward Hours of Parent-Supervised Practice Driving

Graduated Driver Licensing is not only in every state in the U.S.; it’s in many other countries as well.  Queensland, Australia falls into that group, but with a unique twist.  As you know, GDL systems generally require a teen’s parent/guardian to complete a specific number of hours of supervised practice driving, to allow the new driver to gain more experience, while keeping the level of risk relatively low.

But many parents struggle with completing 40, 50, even 100 hours of practice driving; many claim to be overwhelmed by this requirement.  That is where Queensland differs a bit, by offering parents a way to do fewer hours personally with their teen, but still have their teen get enough practice (by the way, Queensland requires parents complete a total of 100 hours of practice driving, including 10 hours at night).

Here’s how it works.  Parents reduce their own time spent supervising their teen by hiring a professional driving school to conduct a portion of the 100 hours of supervised practice driving.  The potential benefit here is that parents only pay for 10 hours of instruction, but that counts as 30 hours, leaving “only” 70 hours for them to complete in person with their teen.

That is, parents can take advantage of a three-to-one “exchange rate,” whereby each hour of training conducted by a professional driving instructor counts as three hours of “parental” coaching.  Thus, the teens receive additional professional instruction, the driving schools gain some incremental business, and the parents’ time commitment can be reduced by up to 30 percent.

Queensland’s GDL system has yet to be formally evaluated, but it might represent a reasonable balance between state requirements and modern scheduling concerns, and perhaps help prevent any temptation on the part of parents to do fewer hours of driving that is required by their jurisdiction.

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