Licence classsifications

Submitted: Monday, Feb 02, 2004 at 08:04
ThreadID: 10197 Views:2280 Replies:5 FollowUps:9
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Have just read the posts from yesterday about "licensing",or "testing" 4x4 drivers. I agree with the comments that it really is a matter of proper education. But, therein lies the problem. A large proportion of today's society survives on the principle, "if I can get away with it I will". Two examples from the last three days - driving down the freeway I was overtaken by a large commercial van, one of those high rise Mercedes, probably built to the largest specifications allowable to be driven by a driver with a basic car licence. Signs all over it "----- rent a car, NO TRUCK LICENCE REQUIRED". It was fully laden and he was doing at least 130 kph. You can bet it was overweight and I just wondered how much experience that guy had in driving that sort of vehicle. Probably drives a Corolla in his other life and thinks that he can cruise in the truck the same as he can in his toy car. Second, a guy in an X-Trail driving out of Port Stephens, obviously on his way home after holidays. Four people on board, loaded to the roof behind the back seat, towing an old, heavy, dual axle van that had to be at least 20 feet long. No stabiliser bars and the tow ball was almost touching the ground. Clearance over the front wheels was probably 12 inches.
My point is this - both of these drivers were accidents waiting to happen. But both were driving rigs that the law says they are allowed to. I suggest that both these guys should have been required to have heavy vehicle licences. Given the proliferation of small vehicles on our roads these days why are people who have gained their licence on a car weighing less than a ton permitted to drive rigid vehicles up to three times that size without any further testing or training? If my 17 year old daughter got her licence yesterday driving a Daihatsu, there is absolutely nothing to stop her jumping in somebody's cruiser or patrol today and clearly putting the rest of the motoring public in great risk. Why does a commercial driver need a special licence to drive an articulated vehicle when we permit anybody to go out and buy a towing vehicle and caravan combination of virtually any length and inflict them on the motoring community? I'm sure we all know at least one guy who has just retired and gone out and bought the big rig and van and set off to travel around OZ, without even the slightest thought to his ability to control them. SHE'LL BE RIGHT!
Isn't it time the government reduced the size of vehicles permitted to be driven on a "car" licence - and I mean dramatically. Let's bring it down to, say, 1500kg's and make an overall vehicle length limit for towing of say, 8 metres. If people want to go over these limits let them go through the training and testing regime to receive the appropriate licence.

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Reply By: Diesel1 - Monday, Feb 02, 2004 at 10:28

Monday, Feb 02, 2004 at 10:28
G'day Tessa,

I hear what you are saying in relation to "special licences", but how far do you go with that. Take a look at our licencing system for any category - is the driver tested for wet conditions, dirt roads, night driving, driving in heavy fog etc. The answer is no and the reason is obvious. Maybe the answer to licencing is to introduce more stringent testing right across the board at entry level and have an endorsement system for those who need to tow long caravans.

There seems to be a habit in Oz that when something needs a slight fix solution, the pollies and authorities go from one extreme to the other. A good example of that is gun ownership after the Port Arthur massacre - the strict gun laws and licencing have not reduced gun related crime in Australia, the crims out there never handed their guns in and never will - nor did they rush out and apply for a gun ownership licence so as to abide by the law.


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Follow Up By: Member - Cocka - Monday, Feb 02, 2004 at 11:51

Monday, Feb 02, 2004 at 11:51
Diesell, you and Tessa are both right. Trouble is you can never find a policeman when you want one. We all see idiots out there every day on the roads but if they drive like idiots every day the law will get them in the end. If they want to kill themselves we can't stop them, it's the innocent ones they often tragicaly take out that grieves me.
So what's the answer ? Education and enforcement and if you don't like the rules then don't play the game.Carpe Diem
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Follow Up By: Member - Bob - Monday, Feb 02, 2004 at 13:10

Monday, Feb 02, 2004 at 13:10
there has been a huge reduction in gun related injuries. Yes the crims still have guns but mostly they don't shoot the rest of us - just each other. Its the guns stashed in the cupboard at home or on the farm that are more likely to kill. By taking most of these out of circulation many tragedies have been avoided.Bob
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Monday, Feb 02, 2004 at 23:32

Monday, Feb 02, 2004 at 23:32

Check the kid shot in Condell Park yesterday in Sydney... has the full details..
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Reply By: Member - Bob - Monday, Feb 02, 2004 at 13:16

Monday, Feb 02, 2004 at 13:16
I'm with you. We'll look back in years to come and marvel at how slack our vehicle licensing is today, at the complete lack of proper driver education needed to get a license (emergency braking, skid pan etc), and the fact that we drive on roads where two vehicles approach each other from opposite directions and pass less than a meter apart at a speed of more than 200 kph. Is it any wonder people are dying in their thousands (if it was a terrorist attack we would be somewhat alarmed - because its on our roads we are innured to it).Bob
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Reply By: jeff-wa - Monday, Feb 02, 2004 at 13:56

Monday, Feb 02, 2004 at 13:56
Guys I here what your saying, but I work in security and our guys are out there everyday risking there lives, I can tell you now they are not worried about grandad and his ol' shotgun in the cupboard they are worried about the hand gun that was smuggled into the country and sold on the black market.
My point is that it does not matter how much regulation you put on somthing, becuase the people you are trying to regulate will not participate anyway!
Look at WA, they have now reduced just about all of our speed limits by 10km/h. What effect has that had. It means that average joe like me has to go 10km/h slower or get fined. Dopey dorah and all the other hoons don't give a crap! half of them lost there license years ago anyway!! how many times are you doing 60km/h in the 60k zone and some moron speeds past at 100km/h. He doesn't care if it's 50, 60 or 70km/h he's going to do a 100 anyway!
So make us all spend our money, time and effort getting our 4wd license, maybe it will help a little, but it's not going to stop the sort of people who are causing the majoirty of the problems!
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Reply By: Willem - Monday, Feb 02, 2004 at 20:14

Monday, Feb 02, 2004 at 20:14
Tessa and some others,

You are bordering on paranoia. Once again you are advocating extreme licensing regimes which in all probabilty are impossible to regulate. Individual sightings of what you perceive as possible accidents waiting to happen are not relevant and you cannot assume anything about people you know nothing about.

I have said this before and I say it cannot protect people against themselves. If an innocent kid jumps in to a vehicle he/she is unaccustomed to driving, and that person does not use commonsense when in command of that particular vehicle and a mishap occurs, then it is upon themselves where the blame is to be laid. If you are the innocent third party in an accident then that is the way the cookie crumbles. You as the third party have to be vigilant as well but accidents do happen.


WillemMove over Big Red..this is a dune!
320 metre sand dune, Sossusvlei,Namibia
(note myself and Suzuki in foreground)
AnswerID: 45210

Follow Up By: Member - Cocka - Tuesday, Feb 03, 2004 at 11:55

Tuesday, Feb 03, 2004 at 11:55
Will, I don't see that these opinions are bordering on the paronic (new word) any more than yours. Maybe the gun issue is getting away from the 4Wd issue but both are deadly weapons in the wrong and inexperienced hands. Your issue with vehicle inspections is commendable but digresses from the 4x4 driving issue.

The point you rightly make is about "defensive driving" and that is more than merely knowing the road rules. You yourself "assume" that everyone has "commonsense" that should be used when behind the wheel, the trouble there is the word "common", it is not common, ie not everyone has it. Therfore there does need to be some attempt to educate further the people who don't understand or realise the implications of driving a heavily laden 4x4 vehicle or similar, or an articulated vehicle over a certain lenght or weight, compared to a sedan. I believe 4x4 are very different vehicles when loaded up, as is the family sedan with a 20 ft'er behind.

Special licences are not necessary, but may I make a positive contribution by saying that an endorsment would suffice and be accepted by insc. companies for existing owners who could prove they had not had an accident driving a 4x4 for say 2-3 years and that new 4x4 drivers sign off on a knowledge test. The existing 4x4 car clubs would probably love to have an "authorised" and recognised testing officer, after all they already do a great job on their training days. Similar scinarios should apply to long and heavy trailers/vans behind sedans.

If you think I'm suffering paranoia you may be right as I have good reason. My really good mate was killed by a 4x4 down near Canberra - he was driving a Saab, a safe car by many standards. And my son held the hand of a lovely 22 year old girl with a towel against her head to try stop the bleeding, whilst she died - a 4x4 crossed the median strip as it was unable to stop in heavy traffic and landed on top of her little Japanese something, the engine was pushed up into the girls chest. The driver of the 4x4 was not convicted of an offence as he was not exceeding the 60k speed limit. Education may not have stopped this accident but as he was not, say, "endorsed" on his licence, then his parents would not have let him borrow the 4x4 - if they had, he, they or both - could have been convicted of an offence, maybe that would have saved her life.

We already have licence endorsments for people with certain disabilities and even glasses for which we have a special test, that doesn't cost 1c more, you have to wear them so you wear them, just like a seat belt. I really don't see any issue with something that makes the uneducated and unskilled wiser or aware.

I see people working from the bottom up, from the lowest common denominator. Recognise that there is weakness in the educational system and fix it from the top.

BTW, the state gov now has 3 permanant speed cameras 300 mts apart at the point where the girl died, the speed limit is still 60 KPH. That's their answer to that problem.

Carpe Diem
FollowupID: 307364

Follow Up By: Willem - Tuesday, Feb 03, 2004 at 20:04

Tuesday, Feb 03, 2004 at 20:04

Maybe we should agree to disagree.

Your point about an endorsement to ones drivers licence so that one might be able to drive a 4x4 is 50% valid. How do you test a driver of a Subaru, Audi or Touareg?

It would seem that comments are made on devisive issues because of some personal experience with road trauma or other trauma. These experiences seem to weigh heavily on those who are advocating a change to the system probably so as to get their own back at whatever or "that it may never happen to someone else".

Like the gun issue any new licencing is an emotive issue. The Government took a whole swag of guns out of the responsible community but now 8 years later the crims are having a field day brandishing guns at will while we who are empowered to own guns have to stick to a regimen of extreme safety procedures under lock and key! You are advocating an additional licence/endorsement or training regime on the majority of four wheel drivers so as to appease a vocal minority who for their own reasons will feel better if 4x4 licences come to fruition.

I will agree to these points:

Yes, there are bad car drivers
Yes, there are bad four wheel drive drivers
Yes, there are bad drivers towing caravans
Yes, there are bad truck drivers

But the majority of drivers are responsible and know what they are doing.

I will not retract my views that there is paranoia at large on this subject as the new age of the internet decrees that we may speak our piece with anonymity.


Willem1958 Patrol Pretty flash eh?
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Follow Up By: Member - Cocka - Tuesday, Feb 03, 2004 at 21:57

Tuesday, Feb 03, 2004 at 21:57
Gee Willem, I reacon you and I could spend a long night around a good camp fire lubing our throats with some refreshment, we'd solve a lot of problems, but would anyone listen ??

Yeah, maybe Melissa. She should also pretty have some good news for us shortly. I sent her off a personal note a couple of days back and she's doing fine.Carpe Diem
FollowupID: 307440

Follow Up By: Member - Paul T- Tuesday, Feb 03, 2004 at 22:22

Tuesday, Feb 03, 2004 at 22:22

I must side with Cocka on this one.

The licence itself is not the issue. Knowledge and competence is the issue.

Many of us have gained knowledge and competence through personal experience, many of these experiences are what as known as close calls.

In other words we are lucky we survived the experience, but because we survived we learn. (unless we are truly stupid that is)

The point is, that quite often a persons first experience is their last and as a result do not get a chance to learn from their mistakes and correct their actions etc.

For example, this week a relatively new Lancruiser Standard 100 series took a right hand turn coming through a set of lights at an intersection. The speed at which she took the turn was fine for a low bodied sedan, but a tad too fast for the cruiser and I saw it sway as the centre of gravity took over, it didn,t lift a wheel, but was lookin somewhat shakey.

I happened to pull up in the same car park near the woman driver who was looking a bit shaken with her experience.

In conversation the women let it be known that her and her husband had only bought the Landcruiser three days prior and she thought it would handle pretty much like her old commodore.

She now knows better, but it was only luck that prevented an accident.

They are getting the Landcrusier ready for their retirement, and like many of us are looking to tour and enjoy the beauty of this land.

She also agreed after a little more conversation that she and her husband would duck of and do a basic 4x4 course.

This woman was not a hoon, nor is she stupid,nor is she irresponsible,it is just that SHE DID NOT KNOW about the charasteristics of 4X4s. (in fact she was quite easy on the eye)

If she had been trained she would have taken the turn far more sedately, within the capabilities of the vehicle as a responsible, informed driver.

How much better would it be that before a person is allowed to drive a 4x4 (or any other vehicle that behaves differenly) they undergo a training course and not have to learn by frightening experiences.

A licence is just the record of that training and a statement of knowledge and competency. If you prefer call it a certificate.

No a licence wil not stop the idiots and the hoons, but licences were never meant to do that. Many accidents/deaths are caused by lack of knowledge and lack of competence, not by irresponsibility. And as you point out the majority of people are responsible and will act responsibly once they have the knowledge.

Yes I am one of those people who do not want to see 'it happen to other people'.

As Cocka points out 'common sense is not very common' in fact we are not born with common snese, we have to learn it. Lets learn it the easy way, through training and information, not through near misses.

If you do not believe me that we are not born with common sense, think about the young child who runs out on the road to get the ball. Where is the common sense in that?

I don't want to hide behind the anonymity of the net, but at the same time I do not want to give my contact details to the rest of the world and be driven mad by looneys, but if you would like to contact me personally just reply to this follow up and I will ask David and Michelle to forward you my contact details in a discreet method.

Anywho enough is enough, we must remember how lucky we are in this great country of ours to have the freedom to express our views, and a great forum such as this one to make them known.


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Follow Up By: Willem - Tuesday, Feb 03, 2004 at 22:29

Tuesday, Feb 03, 2004 at 22:29

We might have to set a date for a camp somewhere in the outback.

A night time sojourn by the fire may go in to the early hours as I always want to see if my sparring partner/s will concede to my views. These days a cup or cups of tea will suffice as serious arguments have evolved in the past when mind numbing liquids were imbibed.

I am heading up to Coongie in April via the Flinders and then later in the year hopefully the Western Deserts.


1958 Patrol Pretty flash eh?
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Follow Up By: Willem - Tuesday, Feb 03, 2004 at 22:51

Tuesday, Feb 03, 2004 at 22:51

Nice speech........So what you are saying is that the lack of education is the result of most of the misdemeanours of society. You are quite right there. The more people there are on earth, the more rules and regulations and laws there are, the more governments try to interfere with the lives of the citizens, the less money is spent on education and hence the problem of people having no commonsense. You are right, a child has no commonsense. The latter comes with experience and tolerance and the ability to see and value the whole being of what goes on around you. Maybe I am at that age where accumulated experiences have instilled some commonsense in me.

By means of and due to questions raised on this forum I am happy to react and speak out against any ideas which give credence to conformity of life matters. I will vigorously defend simplicity and commonsense.

You may contact me if you wish through my website but I have spoken my mind on this thread. We could go on ad nauseum but to what avail? I simply do not agree with your premise.



1958 Patrol Pretty flash eh?
FollowupID: 307458

Reply By: mijochka - Tuesday, Feb 03, 2004 at 14:37

Tuesday, Feb 03, 2004 at 14:37
In a perfect world, nobody would be allowed to drive a vehicle beyond their capabilities or experience. Trouble is, the roads would be empty!
Trying to create & administer a system of classification of licences for passenger type vehicles would be unworkably complicated.
However, I do believe that the matter of caravan towing needs to be addressed.
I spent many years as a long haul truck driver and saw first hand many examples of incompetency displayed by caravanners, including one particular incident where a truck owned by me was wrecked because the driver was forced to go bush to avoid wiping out a caravanning family.
I have recently purchased a 24' van and a HJ61 'Cruiser. The unit is equipped with Hayman Reece towhitch, vaccuum hydraulic brakes and is stable and well balanced.
It is still, and by the very nature of the vehicle, never will be, as stable as a semi trailer. I have had to adapt my driving style to accomodate the dynamics of the rig.
My point is that the thought of somebody , never having driven anything bigger than the family Commodore, being let loose in one of these without any training is appalling. There should be some sort of mandatory trainig and accreditation in place for these vehicles
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