Driver education needed for internationals
LOCAL driving instructor Catherine Barnes has voiced her concerns about the lack of a program for international drivers in Dubbo, with neither the State nor Local Government taking action on the issue.
“There’s been more than one occasion where I have said to people that the way we deal with international drivers is not good enough. We let them drive on our roads without learning the road rules – it’s wrong that we let them drive for two years on an international licence,” she told
Currently, anyone considered to be a temporary overseas visitor can drive in Australia by using their overseas driver’s licence – without any training or testing required.
“We need to educate them before we let them drive on a temporary visa with an international licence,” she said. “Two years is too long to be driving willy nilly without some form of training.”
Mrs Barnes explained that an Australian driver’s licence is required within three months of getting permanent residency. That means the resident has usually been in Australia for a number of years with temporary status. Once permanency is established, they are required to sit for an Australian driving test.
Mrs Barnes believes the test is tough and most born and bred Australian residents would not pass.
“They all fail. Anyone that’s not properly prepared will fail anyway. If everyone drove like that, no-one would drive on the road.”
Mrs Barnes said it may impact the tourism industry, but she is more concerned about community safety – she believes that many accidents are caused by international drivers because they don’t understand Australian road rules.
Mrs Barnes is keen to host a gathering to educate our worldly citizens.
“There’s nothing stopping us from having an information night. I’d like to get another instructor to help so that I can look into this stuff.
“I see international drivers all the time every day. I already do lessons and Council does the new residents’ night. I don’t see why we couldn’t do it.”
If you’re a permanent Australian resident, or hold a permanent visa under the Commonwealth Migration Act 1958, and you intend to stay in NSW, you are not considered to be a visitor. You can drive in NSW on a current overseas licence for a maximum of three months. Then you will need to apply for a NSW licence to continue driving or riding.
If you do not hold permanent Australian residency, but will be in NSW for more than three months, you can apply for a Temporary Overseas Visitor licence.
If you’re a visitor to NSW, you can drive on your current licence as long as it hasn’t been suspended or disqualified, and you follow the NSW road rules.
If you hold an overseas licence, you are allowed to drive the vehicles covered by your overseas licence in NSW indefinitely, as long as:
z You remain a temporary overseas visitor
z Your overseas licence remains current
z You have not been disqualified from driving in NSW or anywhere else
z You have not had your licence suspended or cancelled, or your visiting driving privileges withdrawn
z You carry your overseas driver or rider licence. If your licence is not written in English, you must also carry an English translation, or an International Driving Permit. SOURCE: RMS
Driving instructor Catherine Barnes is concerned about the number of bad crashes involving drivers on international licences.