By Samuel Smith
Published: Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Teaching someone to drive can be a rewarding experience, but it’s also a time filled with uncertainty and nerves, both for learners and their supervisors.
Most supervising drivers will walk away from their time in the passenger seat with at least one harrowing tale to tell.
And who could blame them? Teaching someone to use their body and mind in a whole new way – while having your life in their hands as they do it – is a big ask.
As for learners? Well, driving is one of the most complex tasks we as humans perform, relying on rapid-fire reactions as well as perception, hearing, cognitive function, memory, insight, judgement, motor function and muscle power. So it’s no surprise they have a lot on their minds too.
But it’s during times like these, when we’re a little frazzled, that we make mistakes. And some mistakes can be costly.
One of the first things beginner drivers are taught, even before getting behind the wheel, is to always display their L (and later on) P plates. Failing to do so could see them slapped with a $382 fine, a $90 Victims of Crime Levy and 2 Demerit Points.
In fact, 640 learner drivers were caught without their L plates just last year, forking out a combined $228,870 in fines, excluding the Victims of Crime Levy.
Displaying the correct plates is important. It shows a vehicle is being driven by someone who is either under instruction or who is driving solo, with limited experience.
On the flipside, many fully licenced drivers (that’s you, supervising drivers) don’t realise just how harsh the penalties can be for forgetting to take those L and P plates down after switching seats with a learner.
The maximum fine – believe it or not – for the offence of displaying an L plate or P plate by a fully licenced driver can be up to a whopping $1250, imposed by the court.
The price to pay
The maximum fine for displaying an L or P plate by a fully licenced driver, imposed by the court.
RAA Senior Manager of Safety and Infrastructure Charles Mountain urges fully licenced drivers to make sure they remove L or P plates before getting behind the wheel.
Failing to do so could see offending drivers slapped with an extremely large fine and a court appearance – it could also send the wrong message to fellow motorists.
“L and P-plate drivers have conditions imposed upon them to maintain their safety while gaining experience behind the wheel. For example, a curfew applies to P1 drivers,” says Mr Mountain.
“These conditions obviously don’t apply to fully licenced drivers, which is why – to avoid confusion – it’s so important they remove any plates before they get behind the wheel.”