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Byron Shire
April 12, 2021

Learner driver tests positive for drugs

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Yesterday in Lismore police stopped a vehicle on the Bruxner Highway for a random breath test. The driver, a 21 year old Casino man, produced a Learners Licence, however none of the passengers in the car had a current licence.

The man was tested for drugs and alcohol – the result was negative for alcohol but he recorded a positive reading for methamphetamines and cannabis.

Later at the Lismore Police Station he provided another positive reading for methamphetamines and cannabis.

He was issued an infringement notice for $877.00 ‘Learner Not Accompanied by Licensed Driver’ and $268.00 for ‘Learner Not Display L Plates’ and had his licence suspended on the spot for three months.

If his drug tests come back positive he will be issued a $551.00 fine and handed an automatic licence suspension for three months.

Police say these may be big fines and suspensions but they are there for a good reason.

‘A learner driver is at a crucial stage of their driver education,’ said a police media post. ‘They really do need to have a fully licensed driver with them. It called a Learner’s licence for a reason.

‘If you are on your Ls and are driving unaccompanied remember this – when you are caught the fine will be $877.00 and your licence will be suspended for three months on the spot. You won’t be able to renew or upgrade your licence until you pay off the fine.’

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  1. Another example of the utter disdain many road users have for their safety and worse, the safety of others. Of course, part of this is that we all think we are really good drivers (a deadly examp0le of the Dunning-Kruger effect), when the truth is usually quite different.
    Mostly, this starts occurring when we are learning to drive and we cross that threshold where we think we don’t have to think so much about the act of driving. Our brains being what they are, we allow ourselves to be convinced that crossing that threshold means were are now skilled, when in truth, we should never stop learning how to drive properly, if for no other reason than to keep abreast of changes in road rules – and there have been many since I got my licence nearly 40 years ago

    However, one change I would make to the rules around learner drivers and in particular those who
    “teach” them to drive, which is more typically the person who passes on their own bad habits and bad attitudes, is that anyone who wants to accompany a learner has to have a special license endorsement, which requires a written test as well as an on-the-road test to prove they know the road rules and can at least drive up to some kind of reasonable standard, even if they have not learned anything since getting their licence.

    None of that would necessarily have helped in the present case, since they were not licensed at all, but it would justify a more stringent system of penalties for those who breached such a rule.


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