Would You Hire Someone Who Only Had 3 Hours Experience? Of Course You Wouldn’t!

Q: So why then are there so many heavy vehicle licence courses which only include about 3 hours of behind-the wheel-training ?

A1: Because that’s all you want!

A2: Because that’s all the road transport industry gives you the impression you need!

A3: Because the authorities are obviously happy with the low licensing standard!

A4: Because heavy vehicle training providers are more interested in your money than training you!

A5: Because training providers are scared they’ll lose your business if they offer courses that actually train you to be a half decent driver – why is that?

A6: Refer A1…

 “Well Mr Armstrongs, if things were so bad, the industry or VicRoads would’ve made changes a long time ago” we hear you say.  Point taken – that’s a logical position to arrive at.

If no one cares about the low standard of newly licenced drivers then quite clearly changes aren’t required.  Point taken – again.

Generally, for anything in this world to change, there needs to be an adverse effect on someone, and that someone needs to be tired of being adversely effected and therefore wants a change.  Before you even go there – point taken (again!) – if someone was being adversely effected by the current low standard of newly licenced truck drivers then they would have spoken up ages ago.

So, no one complaining, no changes required.  Case closed.

Not so fast your Honour…

Armstrongs tables Exhibit A – latest NTI Insurance & National Truck Accident Research Centre (NTARC ) RESEARCH Victorian Heavy Vehicle investigation report (covering truck accidents 1 Jan 2011 to 17 September 2015)

What was that about no one being affected and no one complaining?  A couple of stats from the report to keep in mind while you attempt to hang onto your original logic.

  • 17.8% of notified large losses came from Victoria (claims over $50,000)
  • In Victoria in 2013, there were 74 incidents over $50,000 costing a total of $11,113,001 (average cost per reported incident $150,176)
  • Australia wide in 2013, there were 549 incidents over $50,000 costing a total of $71,723,007 (average cost per reported incident $130,643)
  • 17.56% of reported incidents occurred in metro/urban areas, 39.18% highways, and 20.27% on regional roads
  • The determined cause of the incidents reported to NTI were as follows:

    Inappropriate speed 36.66%

    Multiple at fault 11.66%

    Multiple not at fault 3.33%

    Other 18.33%

    Total due to driver error 69.98%

    Fatigue 11.66%

    Mechanical 0.00%

  • The determined  ‘at fault’ party of the incidents reported to NTI were as follows:

    64.86% single vehicle accidents resulted in a finding that the driver was at fault

    60% of multi-vehicle collisions resulted in the finding that the HV driver was at fault

    20% of multi-vehicle collisions with fatalities resulted in a finding that the HV driver was at fault

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And on it goes.  We’ll continue to detail and comment on the findings contained in the report in future blogs, but for now surely these facts are enough ‘prima facie evidence’ to suggest that indeed, someone is complaining (they’re called “the public”) and that they are being adversely affected.

So back to our original question – Why then are there so many heavy vehicle licence courses which only include about 3 hours of behind-the wheel-training so common?  To clutching onto that ‘no one’s complaining’ logic?  Surely, no one in their right mind would be ignorant (stupid?) enough to argue that about 3 hours of behind-the-wheel training is enough to learn how to drive a heavy vehicle and at the end of that time actually be a competent, safe, and low risk heavy vehicle driver – let alone ‘employable’?

Unfortunately “the public” is too abstract a term to mean anything meaningful to most newly licenced drivers.  “The public” consists of other people, not you, or your family or friends.  The stats above affected someone else’s “public”.  Ok, then how do we bring it home to you?  Let’s talk about the thing that prospective heavy vehicle drivers are most concerned about – money!

News flash – after only 3 hours or so of behind-the-wheel training your heavy vehicle licence is literally worthless.  You will have shopped round for the cheapest HR licence you could find and you probably paid about $900 for it (not at Armstrongs though…), but really, all you bought was the privilege to get yourself into all manner of sticky situations that you simply won’t have the knowledge or skill to get out of.

With about 3 hours of behind-the-wheel training under your belt – quite simply – you’re now a bona fide risk to “the public”.  But guess what?  Given that on average, over 3000 people are licenced to drive a heavy vehicle of some sort every quarter – at least one of the other 2999 newly licensed drivers that got their truck licence during the same period as you is putting your “public” at risk.  You might even have the privilege of being included in the next NTI report…

So if you’re the type of person who thinks that the above is not a great outcome, then the solution is simple.  Don’t shop for a heavy vehicle licence like you would bread.  Cheaper is not better.  Look for a heavy vehicle course which includes as much behind-the-wheel training as possible and ask tough questions of the heavy vehicle training providers you call.

If you’re looking for a heavy vehicle licence we’d be glad to give you an answer on how many hours of behind-the-wheel training you’ll receive at Armstrongs and the extra value you’ll receive when you do your training with us.  You can find out about all your heavy vehicle licence course options here.  You’ll also find a sneak-peek at what the driving assessment looks like here.  Have a look and then give us a call.