Q-Truck concerns

CHANGES to tests for learner drivers have been welcomed by Pro Drive's Dave Cullen.

He said the Ipswich driving school was already putting its car instructors into trucks or on bikes so they could teach students safety around different vehicles.

Recently Victorian State MP Jude Perera called for hoons to be exposed to heavy trucks and motorbikes as punishment so they could learn to appreciate other road users.

She was speaking during parliamentary debate on the Road Safety Amendment Bill.

Meanwhile Mr Cullen said he was worried other changes could flip heavy vehicle training on its head with the establishment of competency-based training for all truck licensing.

"We already have competency-based training for B-doubles," Mr Cullen said.

He said he thought that could have contributed to a recent spate of truck crashes.

The Q-Truck model would be something like the Q-Ride system currently in place for motorcycle licensing. Where Queensland Transport currently tests up to HC licences, it would all be able to be done by an assessor like Mr Cullen.

The Queensland Government has confirmed it has joined other states and territories to introduce competency-based training and assessment for heavy vehicle driver licensing and the project was in its early stages.

"The whole thing is wrong," Mr Cullen said of the current B-double training system.

"People don't have a clue what to do. It used to be a 50-hour logbook, but it wasn't policed properly."

"Q-Truck will be a disaster."

Mr Cullen said already people were being signed off to drive B-doubles without being fully competent because the training did not involve loaded trucks.

"Some driving schools are pushing it (Q-Truck). It will relieve pressure on Queensland Transport but I think it will be dangerous," he said.

"They expect us to do our B-double training and teach people in a two-day course to drive in any circumstance. It takes the onus off the government.

"We can give them the basics but a loaded truck handles differently.

"Some people can drive. Others are legally okay, but it's not right. They go from carrying 20 tonne to legally carrying 100 tonne with no experience."

He said the solution was to bring back logbook hours, where drivers could be trained on the job like an apprenticeship.

Mr Cullen said the idea would not be cost effective, but like a growing chorus of truck drivers Big Rigs has talked to, he said it would be the best way to teach new drivers.

He said truck driver training "desperately" needed an overhaul.

"I believe it would be made worse with Q-Truck. We're ready to do it, but I don't think its right," Mr Cullen said.

The current overhauls of the Q-Safe practical driver test are now open for public feedback.

"The industry needs an overhaul," Mr Cullen said.

"Anyone can pass a test in five lessons."

Mr Cullen said he hoped the Q-Safe changes would close up all the loopholes.

He said at this stage if you had a manual car licence you could get an automatic truck licence easily - probably in one day - then you could get into a manual body truck. You would only have a restricted licence to drive it but you could legally drive it loaded.

"That's what's happening. They need to close a whole heap of loopholes," he said.

Big Rigs

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