A learner tends to go through many stages during their learning period and these stages include basic car control , more complex car control, practice in quiet streets, practice in busy streets, freeway driving , country roads, highways etc.

However learners generally focus a lot more on one particular element of their training the most and that is passing the VicRoads Driving test. The VicRoads driving test is focused on particular driving actions that test a learners abilities on certain drive test criteria. It is a 30 minute drive divided into stage 1 and stage 2. Stage 1 consists of more basic driving actions in less complicated traffic conditions with some emphasis on lane changing, Stop and Give Way intersections including T intersections and low speed maneuvers (reverse parking and 3 point turn).  Stage 2 consists of more complicated actions in busier roads including right and left turns through busy traffic conditions emphasing on safe gap selections and intersections with traffic lights.

The emphasis on passing the test tends to bring all the focus of driving for many learners to just pass the test, putting aside the rest of the important elements of safe driving. This is a serious problem especially with red P plate drivers who multiply their chances of getting into an accident by 30 times in the first 6 months of passing the driving test. Some industry and government experts brought attention to some of  the reasons why this occurs with this age bracket of drivers . One issue discussed is the lack of self assessment and self awareness learner drivers gain when they are trained and directed during their learning journey from supervisors, trainers and testing officers. A great way of value adding to this is allowing learners to make decisions on their own without much guidance or none at all. Even though the VicRoads drive test does that in some ways , learners are still in many ways being directed and supported consciously and subconsciously with the presence of the trainer and/or testing officer in the car throughout the drive.

Melbourne roads are becoming more complicated and busy by the day and emphasis on safe driving should be paramount for all new drivers. Deeper learning comes with experience but also with self assessment  and self awareness in every driving action drivers make. Road rules, road craft, defensive driving techniques for accident avoidance and low risk taking behaviour should all be part of every learners journey. Quality professional driver trainers put emphasis on these elements thinking way beyond the drive test with every learner they train, however all this training may go to waste if learners are not willing to accept this information and training because all their focus is on passing the test. In many ways this can be a double edged sword for new drivers entering the Melbourne road system once driving unsupervised. The day learners get their licence, the excitement of it all tends to block a lot of the safe driving techniques trainers and supervisors try tirelessly to implement into their driving actions.

So how can we fix this problem? The attempts so far to resolve this issue have come with no real improvement shown on road crash statistics in this age bracket. Maybe the answer lies  in creating deeper learning strategies which can be implemented prior to learning how to drive, during the learning journey and immediately after gaining a licence.