Logbook rejections are ‘white out’ of line | EDITORIAL

Rees Smith is concerned logbook rules are being taken to extremes at Albury RMS. Picture: JOHN RUSSELL
Rees Smith is concerned logbook rules are being taken to extremes at Albury RMS. Picture: JOHN RUSSELL

BLOTS of liquid paper in logbooks are costing Albury L-platers their chance at a licence, according to a Roads and Maritime Services employee, parents and driving instructors.

They say it is one example of a heavy-handed response from the department which forces young drivers to pay more than once for driving tests after what they say are unwarranted logbook rejections.

Albury RMS driving tester Rees Smith said he was directed to reject logbook entries if there was “even a small dot” of liquid paper in the book which records the 120 hours learner drivers need before taking their P-plate driving tests.

RMS rules stipulate logbook entries cannot be rejected because they have liquid paper on them.

“It is wrong, it is absolutely wrong,” said Mr Smith, who is on sick leave from the department.

“I feel disgusted. I made a conscious choice that I’m not going to screw people. I’m not going to be an instrument for logbook terror.”

Border driving instructor and Driver Training Association committee member David Kennedy said many of his learners had their logbooks rejected for the use of liquid paper, minor night-time driving disputes and not putting in minute detail of their trips.

Mr Kennedy, who owns Total Control Driving, said there was no place in the state like Albury for its strictness.

“We see it all the time; it’s an inconvenience, it’s highway robbery,” Mr Kennedy said.

“Financially, it’s terrible for these children and families and it’s just so unfair. You could drive to Finley or Wagga and that logbook would be accepted.”

One Albury mother, who didn’t want to be named, said she felt like she was being called a liar when her daughter’s logbook was rejected in April because of a correction she had made using liquid paper.

She lost the $52 she had pre-paid for the driving test straight after the logbook check and the money she had spent on a professional driving lesson before the test.

She said the same logbook had been accepted by the RMS in Wagga.

“It shouldn’t have been as stressful, the driving test itself was stressful enough,” she said.

Another Albury mother, Alison Gould, said she took her daughter’s logbook into the Albury office in October to get a quick look-over to ensure it was correct before it was checked at her daughter Mikaela’s test a week later.

“I was told they don’t check logbooks any more, which was odd,” she said.

A week later, Mrs Gould said Mikaela’s logbook was rejected for night-time driving after 6pm that was deemed to be during daylight.

“It was like the Spanish Inquisition,” she said.

“That’s really petty stuff at the end of the day when the kids have done their 120 hours.”

Mrs Gould said her daughter’s logbook was accepted at Tumut, but she failed the driving test and would be taking it again on Thursday, this time back in Albury.

“She’s terrified of going,” Mrs Gould said.

A RMS spokeswoman said Albury had a learner pass rate and log book rejection rate comparable with the rest of the state.

Those numbers are not publicly available for fear of people travelling to sites where they perceive it is easier to pass.

The spokeswoman said the RMS had investigated concerns and there were no issues with liquid paper or logbook rejections at the Albury site.

“We’ve assessed Albury as a site against other sites, there’s nothing that stands out in terms of numbers of drivers presenting inaccuracies with their logbooks,” she said.

“There’s nothing of great significance at Albury that differs from any other site.”

She said learners could get their logbooks checked at any RMS site before their test.

The spokeswoman said parents and learners who had issues could make a complaint.

“Parents are always invited to give feedback,” she said.