Mandurah motorists wait for hours to sit their hazard perception test

New Mandurah motorists who capitalised on the recent overhaul of the licensing process were forced to stand in line for hours on Monday. 

Vehicle licensing centres in the region were bombarded with new drivers ready to sit their hazard perception test.

Under new law the time learners had to sit their practical driving assessment and their hazard perception test has swapped. 

From October 9 if a learner driver had already passed a practical driving assessment they became eligible to complete a hazard perception test. 

As long as they were 17 years of age or older, a minimum period of six months had lapsed since they were issued a learner’s permit and had completed 50 hours of supervised driving, including five hours of night time driving.

Photo: Department of Transport.

Photo: Department of Transport.

The modification saw reports of lines out the doors and down the street, at local licensing centres. 

Mandurah resident Michelle Jones stood in line for hours on Monday, to sit her hazard perception test.

“I got my learners in April and I normally would have waited until December before I could sit it and get my Ps but because of the change, it has been fast-tracked,” Ms Jones said.   

“It was absolutely hectic down there.

“I got there at eight o'clock… and the line was down to the street.”

The 32-year-old said by the time she waited, sat her test and left the building it was well after midday. 

“We’re standing in line the whole time and there’s no toilets down there and their ticket system was down, so people were getting turned away.

“If you were there to just do a transfer you had a hundred people in front of you that were all wanting to sit the hazards test.

“Everyone [in line] was pretty friendly. There was a couple that were getting frustrated but everyone was really friendly and excited basically.”

She tipped resources to blame for the wait time. 

“I think because they only have four computers for the hazards test,” she said. 

“They [staff] were really good in sorting everyone out and they were moving through people pretty quick.

“I don’t think they anticipated how many people would actually come down.

“I think really they should have anticipated it a little bit more.

“They could of allocated two sections for learners. 

We’re standing in line the whole time and there’s no toilets down there and their ticket system was down, so people were getting turned away.

Michelle Jones

“I just think that those that weren’t there to sit there hazards, having to wait that time was a bit ridiculous…  just to do something simple.

“It was exhausting, but it was worth it getting my Ps.”

Despite the grievances expressed by Ms Jones, a spokesman for the Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said “there was a lot of preparation ahead of the licensing changes and those potentially affected were forewarned”.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Transport said in anticipation of increased customer attendance for the computer based theory or hazard perception test, the department had put measures in place to alleviate wait times.

These measures included introducing a temporary paper-based booking system which allowed customers to set a time to attempt their test if they didn’t want to wait on the day and advised customers via the DoT website and via more than 4000 text messages to 17-year-old learners that there was high demand for computer based tests and additional wait time may be encountered. 

Centres even extended opening hours, where possible, to accommodate demand.

On the day centre staff also talked to customers standing in line to ensure they have the correct ID and documentation to sit their test, to make sure customers not eligible wouldn’t have to wait unnecessarily. 

One of the grievances expressed by Ms Jones was the lack of toilet  facilities.

The spokeswoman said while it’s not a requirement for the Department of Transport to provide such facilities, they review all aspects of customer amenities including public toilet facilities where possible.

She also mentioned that some, but not all, driver and vehicle services centres had public toilet facilities. 

In a statement issued on Tuesday she said the increased attendance at centres was “expected to be a short-term issue affecting those who immediately benefit from the change”.

A spokeswoman for Road Safety Commissioner Iain Cameron said he wouldn’t comment on issues involved with implementing the changes. 

For more information on the changes visit the Department of Transport website.