Great news everyone! Moving forward, your industry super fund will oversee the revenue-generating business units of VicRoads, which should see more innovative and profitable products providing better returns for shareholders.
Think new number plates, variations on licencing, and perhaps even more flexible registration. Great downstream outcomes for road users, from a cash-rich state and a blue-chip investment.
We’re told the new cooperative arrangement will provide free licence testing, but not once in this week’s state government announcement was anything in regard to training for those licensees.
I’ve been a strong advocate of driver training for young drivers for many years, and have in the past worked with one of Australia’s premier driver training organisations to deliver defensive training to drivers in regional areas who need it the most.
These programs deliver near essential experience and insight on how to avoid an emergency situation and then how to best manage should you find one unavoidable.
Real training, with practical exercises, that show drivers what the ABS feels like through the brake pedal and how the car won’t turn or stop as accurately in the wet, is far more valuable than book-learned theory and trundling around a 40km/h zone near a testing centre.
There are always reasons as to why better defensive and advanced driver training isn’t provided as part of licence testing, and ignoring the myopic rhetoric of ‘defensive training just encourages drivers to take risks’, we always revert to the single main excuse: Money.
But now, with a $7.9 billion upfront payment for the partial privatisation of VicRoads, surely something can be done to better prepare our next generation of drivers?
Surely we can develop a program where better care is taken of our new drivers, where they are taught how to continue to drive safely, rather than to simply pass a test. Where we can adequately and respectfully retest older drivers to ensure vision and reaction times are up to scratch and that everyone understands the new dynamics of driving beyond 2022?
I want to think that this change in management of the road licencing authority is treated as more than just an enamel numberplate revenue bonanza and that an opportunity is taken to make the roads safer for us all.
As all you need to do is look at the state of driving in Victoria right now, to see that we clearly need it.
So how about it VicRoads, will we see a tangible focus on creating better drivers, or just more licenced Marvel superhero number plates?
James has been part of the digital publishing landscape in Australia since 2002 and has worked within the automotive industry since 2007. He joined CarAdvice in 2013, left in 2017 to work with BMW and then returned at the end of 2019 to spearhead the content direction of Drive.