By Samuel Smith
Last updated on: May 1, 2019 at 4:25 pm
Life-threatening lane changes aside, teaching someone to drive is a rewarding experience. But before you hand over the wheel, make sure you’re setting the right example with our 5 supervising driver essentials.
1. You must have held an unconditional full licence for the preceding two years (not a learner’s permit, P1 or P2)
When it comes to driving there’s a lot to learn, even after you’ve handed in your log book and passed your Ps. If you’re going to supervise a learner driver, you need to make sure you have enough real-life road experience to deal with even the trickiest traffic situations.
The South Australian Motor Vehicles Act states that qualified supervising drivers must hold an unconditional full licence. Further to this, they must have had their full licence for the whole of the immediately preceding 2 years.
2. You must be seated immediately next to the learner driver at all times
It’s easy to stay focussed when you’re zipping around town with a learner driver, but keeping alert during those long, arduous country drives can be difficult. Despite how tempting it may be to nod off in the back seat, you must remain alert and seated next to your learner driver at all times.
3. Your blood alcohol content must be below 0.05
Put the pinot grigio down – your learner driver is not a taxi. If you’re supervising a learner, your blood alcohol content must be below 0.05. When your reactions are impeded by alcohol, there’s no way you’ll be able to safely teach a new driver or respond in an emergency. Set a good example and stay sober. If you don’t, you could be up for a $272 fine, plus a $60 Victims of Crime Levy.
4. There can be no drugs in your system
This one’s a given. If you’re on drugs, you’re not going to be a good supervising driver. You’ll also be breaking the law. Acting as a qualified supervising driver with methamphetamine, THC or MDMA in your system will set you back $272 and a $60 Victims of Crime Levy.
5. You must not have been disqualified from driving in the last 2 years
If records show you’ve been disqualified from driving for any period in the last 2 years, you cannot be a supervising driver. Simple.
The maximum penalty for any of the above offences is a fine of $1250.
If you are found to have breached any qualified supervising driver requirements, all your supervising hours and log book entries will be invalid. If, consequently, the learner driver you’ve supervised does not have enough hours, their license will be cancelled and they’ll need to reapply for their permit.
What can you legally do?
Though RAA strongly advises against it, you’re not breaking the law in South Australia if you talk on the phone or text while supervising a learner driver. There’s no curfew for learner drivers, nor is there a limit for passengers, provided that a qualified supervising driver is seated immediately next to the learner. That being said, supervising drivers need to be mindful of putting learner drivers under additional pressure until their skills have developed.
RAA Road Safety Manager Charles Mountain says supervising drivers shouldn’t underestimate their power as role models.
“Though there are some things you can legally do while supervising a learner driver, you need to use common sense. Doing anything other than supervising the learner next to you compromises their safety and the safety of other road users,” Mr Mountain says.
“You are teaching someone skills they will use for life. Remember, you are a role model.”