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Answers to FAQs about Getting a Heavy Vehicle License

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Heavy vehicles are driven more than 1 billion kilometres in Southern Australia annually and are involved in 15 percent of fatal accidents and 7 percent of serious accidents each year. This is why getting proper training prior to licensing is very important if you want to operate a heavy vehicle (vehicles whose gross vehicle mass (GMV) exceeds 4.5 tonnes). Training can be done by any accredited trainer in your region. These are some frequently asked questions you should know as you prepare for your licensing assessment.

1. Who carries out the assessment?

Training and assessment in your state is carried out within the accredited institutions on behalf of the state regulatory organization. Trainers in most of these institutions are also registered assessors, so you may find that your trainer is the same one assessing you for you test. However, bear in mind that their conduct during assessment is different, since you're supposed to be under test conditions (i.e. you may not be able to seek clarifications from them, and they will be rather quiet while assessing you).

2. What happens during the assessment?

During your driving test, your assessor evaluates your performance on specific tasks which are outlined in his/her assessment sheet. Some tasks are evaluated continuously as you drive (e.g. your ability to use the vehicle's mirrors and controls), while some are evaluated at specific points in the test route (e.g. taking turns, changing lanes etc.). Each check is marked with a yes or no response depending on how you perform.

Also, don't be surprised if you get into the cabin and find a camera recording your assessment process. The camera provides proof of your assessment and ensures that the results are reflective of what actually happened during the assessment. This ensures that assessors can't make shady deals to issue licences to clients who didn't actually pass the assessment, thereby keeping the process above-board.

3. Where will I go for assessment?

Even though any accredited provider can carry out your test, the governing body (e.g. Roads and Maritime in New South Wales and VicRoads in Victoria) establishes the test protocols and the parameters for which you will be assessed. In addition, your testing times must be submitted to the governing body in advance, so the time of your test cannot be swapped once submitted. You will drive an approved route that is set for your region so that all the relevant skills can be taken. Don't expect to drive a straight route, as the testing route is engineered in such a way as to test for all the skills you learned during training. Be mentally prepared to concentrate for about an hour, which is how long most tests take.

4. What if I fail the test?

You will be failed on your test if you do anything that is either unsafe or unlawful. Therefore, you need to have driving regulations at your fingertips (in any case, you will have passed the theory/knowledge test in order to qualify for driving assessment). If you fail the test, you will have a few additional training classes and a re-test (depending on the institution, you may or may not have to pay for these). You can ask about this when finding a place to train – some places offer the extra training and retest for free as a value-adding package.

For more information, contact All Onsite Training and Assessment or a similar company.