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Push for teenagers to be taught to drive trucks before they receive their licences

Neil Mitchell
Article image for Push for teenagers to be taught to drive trucks before they receive their licences

The Victorian Transport Association is calling for a drastic overhaul of licensing laws to enable teenagers to learn to drive heavy vehicles before they receive their car licences.

The idea comes as part of a push to attract new drivers to the industry, which is experience a serious shortage.

CEO of the Victorian Transport Association, Peter Anderson, says the problem has been exacerbated by COVID-19 regulations.

“One of the hardships that drivers have to put up with is the long hours they have to work, and then take time out of their personal time to then have to go and do the necessary testing when they really should be resting at home with their families,” he told Neil Mitchell.

“The mandatory vaccinations were another one that drew the line for a lot of people.”

Mr Anderson says Victorians will see the impact of the driver shortage on shelves in coming months, if they aren’t already.

“There will be more gaps in the shelves, there will be a lack of choice,” he said.

He’s calling for a change in licensing laws to enable 18-year-olds to learn to drive trucks before they get their licences.

“That way people can see our industry as a career,” Mr Anderson said.

“They can come in as young people and build a lifestyle that they’ll enjoy for the rest of their lives.

“We can train people intensively for eight days and then make them job ready and let them go into a heavy vehicle safely.”

Under current laws, drivers must hold a car licence for 12 months before they can sit a test to get a heavy vehicle licence.

“We’ve got 16-year-olds flying planes, we’ve got 18-year-olds overseas in the army. Why can’t we train people to be safe in trucks?,” Mr Anderson said.

Neil Mitchell
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