NSW Police weigh in after Victoria Police fine learner driver

A 17-year-old learner driver, supervised by her mother, was given a $1652 on-the-spot fine for being behind the wheel amid stage-three coronavirus restrictions in Victoria which only allows leaving home for one of the permitted purposes such as buying food, attending work or education or for an emergency.

Victoria Police have since said the “non-essential travel” penalty and the use of discretion in the given circumstances will be reviewed.

Meanwhile, NSW Police clarified in a Facebook post that receiving driving lessons would be a reasonable excuse for a person to leave home in the NSW.

#COVID19 Frequently asked questions

Q: Can I take a learner driver for a lesson?

A: Under the Public Health Orders, a person cannot leave their place of residence without a reasonable excuse.
A reasonable excuse includes travelling for the purposes of work where you cannot work from home, so driving instructors can leave their house for their work – to teach people how to drive.

We consider that it would be a reasonable excuse for a person to leave their house to receive driving lessons (either from a driving instructor or a member of their family), given that this is a learning activity that cannot be done from home and is akin to the listed reasonable excuse of travelling to attend an educational institution where you cannot learn from home.

Learner drivers could also continue to drive with a supervising family member for any of the listed reasonable excuses for leaving the house – for example, driving to the supermarket.”