How many airliners do you see pulled up at the boarding gate with L-plates or P-plates? Easy question, huh? How successful would a cut-price airline be; offering cheap flights operated by P-plate pilots?

Of course you never come across this situation, because pilots are trained by professional trainers and examined by professional examiners. They don't get to fly a plane full of passengers until they've proved they're really good at flying an aircraft and reacting to a series of simulated emergencies.

Contrast that situation with passenger vehicle driver training in Australia, where anyone can get a licence after instruction by a person who may have no professional training and isn't required to prove driving competence, let alone the skill to pass on correct techniques. A clear illustration of this obvious incompetence is behaviour at roundabouts, where nearly every driver thinks that giving way to the right is correct.

The NRMA's recent survey of 624 drivers found that 97 percent of them couldn't give 15 correct answers to 15 road rule questions!

Driver licence tests are a joke, as we all know, without the need for candidates to demonstrate any ability in defensive driving or in reacting to an emergency, such as skid.

Driving a vehicle on and off road is the most dangerous task most people will ever do, yet they're allowed to do it with a level of training that is totally inadequate. Driving should be taught as a school subject and examined as such in theory and practice.

A driver's licence is viewed as a right, but it should have to be earned, with a much higher level of skill and knowledge than is presently the case.

Keep left

Posted by Allan Whiting

At Outback Travel Australia we feel sorry for the average Australian driver who hires a vehicle in Europe. Over there, lane discipline is taught to learner drivers and no-one stays in the 'fast lane' unless overtaking. European drivers aren't allowed to overtake on the inside lane, because it's dangerous, yet that 'undertaking' practice is forced on Australian drivers because slower drivers don't keep to the left.

Drive like the typical Aussie driver in Europe and you'll get hooted at, flashed at and bullied, until you do move over.

In Europe, trucks are not allowed to overtake each other on divided four-lane roads - they must stay in the slow lane at all times or risk a fine. Over there, you almost never see overtaking trucks blocking both lanes.

Speeding trucks are also a rarity, because they're restricted to 80-85km/h and the cops are ever vigilant.