A major crackdown on foreign drivers is going to take place for foreign drivers in Australia. New South Wales intends to fix an issue with foreign drivers using foreign licenses in Australia. It will close a loophole allowing drivers to use foreign licenses on Australian roads without fines and demerit points.
Temporary working or Student Visa holders were allowed to use their foreign licenses permanently. Those who have lived in a state for more than three months will have to switch to a state permit in November.
Let’s take a look at the key points of this latest news!
Major Crackdown on Foreign Drivers – Important Points!
Find out what NSW is going to do to close a sneaky loophole and what is currently happening.
- In NSW, foreign license holders will be required to switch to the local version after 3 months.
- By using foreign licenses, drivers are using a sneaky loophole and avoiding demerit points.
- Licenses will be automatically transferred for some holders, while others will need to take tests.
- A modified driving test is required for people from India and China.
According to new rules, a test will soon be required for motorists from unrecognized countries like China, India, and Nepal for driving. While drivers from recognized countries like the UK or Germany can automatically transfer to an NSW license.
Major Crackdown on Foreign Drivers – Switching Foreign License into a Local One!
From November, NSW residents living in the state for over 3 months will have to switch from a foreign to a local driving license. Heffernan family will welcome this change who last year launched a petition asking the state to amend its rules. It happened after a tragic accident in which a Student Visa holder was driving with a Nigerian license.
Trent Heffernan, a Man Who Was Killed!
Trent Heffernan was killed behind the wheel of his Toyota Corolla on Wakefield Road at Ryhope in the Hunter region of NSW. The accident occurred after he crashed with another vehicle on Nov 29, 2020.
Innocent Oliver Idokoh, the driver of the second vehicle, was accused of drifting to the wrong side of the road by the police. Last year, Peita Heffernan, the sister of Mr. Heffernan, started a petition urging foreign drivers to get an NSW license instead of relying on a permit from their home country.
In a recent interview with Daily Mail Australia, she said that foreign drivers, especially students, must understand local driving rules.
Peita Heffernan said:
You can’t get angry, you just have to find a solution. My point is they’ve come here to learn so we should harness that desire and give them another opportunity to learn something else.
In her petition, Ms. Heffernan stated that Australian authorities were not able to track the offenses a driver may have committed on an international license. In addition, she asked if safety signals would be understandable by those who do not speak English.
According to her:
‘If a person is of a non English-speaking background how can they be expected to read and understand our road signs?’
Watch this Video!
Professional Driving Education Pioneer!
Driving education pioneer Ian Luff reacted positively to the idea of testing foreign license holders. In his view, some nations did not meet the Australian standard for driver preparation.
Training standards from many overseas countries is very very poor.
In places like India for example, road carnage is absolutely disastrous, because of the number of people, and the amount of motorcycles, cars, trucks – safety standards are virtually non-existent.
Around 120,000 of 220,000 eligible visa holders in NSW will need to pass a driving test. Though, they would not have to keep the 120-hour log that local drivers keep. Since 2020, more than 2000 foreign drivers have been banned from driving in NSW due to reckless driving.
Authorities Failed to Keep a Track!
Additionally, authorities struggle to keep track of demerit points awarded to visitors with foreign licenses, which have sometimes mounted for years without being dealt with.
It is worth noting that former NRL star Sam Burgess registered more than 30 driving offenses in NSW using his UK license, despite the fact that as a permanent resident, he should have used his NSW license.
He was only caught up when he pleaded guilty to drug driving after being pulled over in an unregistered BMW. For foreign drivers seeking to convert their permits into local licenses, Victoria and the Northern Territory have introduced time limits of 6 months and 3 months, respectively.
Major Crackdown on Foreign Drivers – Final Words!
Australia is a signatory to the UN Convention on Road Traffic. Under this UN Convention, countries agree to allow overseas visitors with valid foreign driver licenses to drive on their roads without further inspection or evaluation. Similarly, Australian licenses can be used overseas without being assessed.
NSW is going to close the sneaky loophole. It will put a major crackdown on foreign drivers. Further, it will require foreign license holders to switch to the local version after 3 months. So, let’s see what happens next!
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I’m Nasir Nawaz. I’m a registered migration consultant in Australia. I am based in Sydney. I’ve studied Master of Laws at the University of New South Wales. I’m providing immigration services for several years.
Consult with me for legal advice on Australian visas to permanently live, study, and work in Australia.