Union tackles delays in driver licence tests

Driving instructor John Leotta of Defensive Driving School.
Driving instructor John Leotta of Defensive Driving School.

A STATE traffic union wants more done to combat long queues, excessive waiting periods and cancellations for practical driving assessments.

The Community and Public Sector Union/ Civil Service Association (CPSU/CSA) is pushing for more resources to be put in place so scheduled tests at nine of the Department of Transport’s (DoT) licensing centres, including Cannington and Kelmscott, are not cancelled when an instructor is off.

CPSU/CSA branch secretary Toni Walkington said assessors at each centre conducted about 10 driving tests a day.

She said there was no contingency plan for when driving instructors called in sick.

“Our members know the most efficient way to deal with the problem is to either employ driving assessor team leaders to co-ordinate and conduct the tests when people are sick or on annual leave or employ relief assessors,” Ms Walkington said.

“Even providing relief staff for just a couple of licensing centres would mean more people are not being let down.”

Brian Pereira has owned Defensive Driving School in Queens Park since 2006.

He has been a driving instructor for 28 years.

Mr Pereira said the driving school had about 60 students per week complete the test, with demand growing each year.

“When an assessor is sick and there is no one to replace them, that results in both lost time and money for the student, instructor and the DoT,” he said.

“The wait time to rebook a practical driving assessment can be lengthy; however the staff do their best to reduce the wait time for the replacement test.”

The DoT has 64 permanent driving assessor positions and 27 multi-skilled staff.

A DoT spokeswoman said there were also strategies in place to reduce customer inconvenience.

“Since December 2013, the number of available tests for all classes of vehicles has increased annually by approximately 11,000 due to the removal of mandatory age-based testing,” the spokeswoman said.

“In addition to this, approximately 2000 additional bookings have been made available annually due to the expansion of the heavy vehicle assessment partnership which continues to grow.

“DoT is in regular contact with the Public Sector Union and will continue to review its processes and strategies to ensure it effectively manages its existing resources.”