Melbourne, April 27 (IANS) Drivers from India, Pakistan, China and Nepal are set to face tougher regulations in Australia with the local government in New South Wales (NSW) state making it mandatory for them to sit for driving licence tests, effective July 1.
Temporary visa holders from these countries, who have lived in NSW for at least six months, will have to take the same knowledge and practical test as locals, according to news.com.
“Under the new arrangements, temporary visa holders will need to convert to a NSW licence if they have resided continuously in the state for six months and wish to continue driving,” a Transport for NSW spokeswoman told the website.
This move will address a flaw in the transport system that enabled some drivers to retain their licences despite receiving 13 demerit points, or being convicted of a severe road offence.
These drivers could continue to drive using their overseas licence after completing any relevant suspension or disqualification period, the report said.
But with the new rule, offenders will have to apply for a NSW driver’s licence if they want to drive again in NSW.
“You can’t have a situation where someone had demonstrated very serious poor behaviour behind the wheel, and continued to be able to drive on their overseas licence,” National Roads and Motorists’ Association spokesperson Peter Khoury said via the Daily Telegraph.
Exceptions have been made for drivers from Japan, Singapore and Germany, who will be required to convert their licence, but won’t have to take the test.
The new rules, announced in August 2022 and meant to come into effect in November, were delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the Daily Telegraph, over 2,000 overseas drivers have had their visiting driver privileges withdrawn since 2020 due to poor behaviour on the roads.
There are approximately 220,000 individuals driving on an overseas licence who live in NSW.