Failed VicRoads Driving Test for Being Overly Cautious to NOT Hit Pedestrians on The Road!

Hi everyone,
I hope you can help me with a dillemma:

So, my daughter had her 1st driving test after the pandemic, but she was failed for "creating a road hazard by stopping in the middle of the road", this was the examiner's explanation.

The facts:
- She was taking the driving test with only the instructor and examiner with her in the car
- There was no dash cam, body cam, or anything else to corroborate her story
- The incident happened at an UNFLAGGED school crossing
- The time was approximately 2.40pm (within school times of 2.30-4.00pm) but there were no flags or crossing supervisor (Council cutbacks?)
- She was turning left at a roundabout, and immediately 50 meters later was the said school crossing.
- This was a divided road, with a school crossing on each side of the divider island.
- There were 2-3 young people (drunk/drugs/skylarking) around the other side of the road, going back and forth, pushing each other, eventially making their way to the divider in the middle of the road
- She slowed down, for fear they would run onto the road,
- When the people were close to her side of the road she genuinely thought they would step onto the road, and she stopped to let them cross
- Another car in the lane next to her also stopped
- The young people then crossed the road in front of her car
- The examiner immediately after that pulled her over and said she created a traffic hazard by stopping, and failed her on the spot.
- There is no dispute regarding the facts above.

The examiner AND instructor are sticking to their story: that the said "school crossing" was not officialy a crossing unless there are RED FLAGS erected on the poles next to the road. So this is to be treated as a normal open road. (After reading the Vic road rules, I reluctantly agree that this is correct in the road rules).

She was essentially asked to ignore the fact that young people/adolescents were skylarking around the road, ignore that may run onto the road at any time, and DRIVE ON!

Now, I did my driving test more than 45 years ago (in Qld in the good old days of Joh Bjelke Petersen), but I learnt from some of my copper frieds at the time that on the road THE PEDESTRIAN IS KING! No matter what, you are not allowed to hit a pedestrian. If you hit a pedestrian, you WILL be investigated, and unless you have all your ducks in a row (you were not speeding, not drunk, alert, braked on time, took reasonable action etc,) you WILL BE charged, EVEN IF THERE IS NO CROSSING MARKED.

According to (everyone) she has no course of redress or appeal to VicRoads

Our view in this case that, (forget the fact that it was a school crossing in school times) my daughter should have been commended for taking extra care to not injure people on the road while driving, SHE WAS FAILED!

I would appreciate you thoughts what she should do. I think she should forget it and move on, and she does not want to complain and get a "black mark" on her Vicroads records for fear of future discrimation.

Thanks for your attention in reading this, please advise.

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  • +116
    • She slowed down, for fear they would run onto the road,
    • When the people were close to her side of the road she genuinely thought they would step onto the road, and she stopped to let them cross

    Whether she thought it or not, she stopped to allow people to cross at a non-designated junction. Cars had right of way unless the pedestrian was already in the road, or unless there was a hazard of them stepping out, which they didn't until she slowed to a stop.

    • +9

      Spend 5 minutes at the corner of say Little Bourke and Swanston St and see how quickly BS (unfortunately) that right-of-way assumption is. Pedestrians who don't give a crap or pay attention and like it or not the car is usually deemed "at fault". Even of not at fault it's usually more hassle than it's worth whether it's hit damage or road rage.

      Too bad no dashcam to corroborate her side of the story of their behaviour.

      • see how quickly BS (unfortunately) that right-of-way assumption is.

        That's because right of way is BS.

        Nobody has right of way, you only have the right to give way

        • Obligation, not right. It's not something you can choose to do, it's something you must do.

    • +21

      Cars had right of way unless the pedestrian was already in the road, or unless there was a hazard of them stepping out, which they didn't until she slowed to a stop.

      Agreed - but this is where there is judgement involved, because whether "there was a hazard of them stepping out" or not is something that a driver will have to judge in real time.

      Also, there's no such thing as "right of way", only an obligation to give way. Even if the pedestrians have an obligation to give way, they may not, and if they do not, it's not like you get off scot free if you just run em over.

      • +4

        it's not like you get off scot free if you just run em over.

        BUt ThEy WeRe YoUnG aNd DrUnK!

        • +3

          Was is a 40kmh school zone?

          If so, not much of a hazard imo, not like she dead stopped at a 70 zone

          • @capslock janitor:

            Was is a 40kmh school zone?

            schools are (were) on break. so no, it was not. also explains why the crossing was not flagged.

            "school times" also don't apply on Public Holidays.

            • @Antikythera:

              daughter had her 1st driving test after the pandemic,

              ig depends what he means after the pandemic 😂!?😂

      • -1

        But stopping on an unmarked crossing with 2 lanes each way is very very very dangerous.

        I commend the other driver in the other lane for stopping when they noticed what was happening. They are the real MVP here.

        Imagine a hoon driver blasting past your daughter in the other lane in frustration, only to plow through a few kids who stepped out of nowhere from infront of your daughters car.

        • -1

          Imagine a hoon driver blasting past your daughter in the other lane in frustration, only to plow through a few kids who stepped out of nowhere from infront of your daughters car.

          How is the daughter responsible for the kids stepping out of nowhere (i.e. doing the wrong thing in the first place), and a hoon blasting past (i.e. doing the wrong thing in response to a hazard).

          The world would be a better place if you reserved your anger for the idiot blasting past a slowing down car without looking.

          • +2

            @p1 ama: I see you are new to driving

        • +2

          I agree.

          The daughter stopping (when they should not have IMO) created the danger. The other driver stopped too because of the danger created by the daughter stopping.

          The other driver by also stopping is the MVP.

    • -3

      Cars had right of way…


    • +9

      The tester is there to test according to the rules. If the tester did not do that then they would not being doing their job properly and also the tester does not make the rules. The young driver should put this down to life experience. We have to navigate many rules and conditions in life we don’t agree with and that may seem at odds with sensibility or safety but that is just life. Things are not how they were in the past. Life is more rigid and clinical than it probably has ever been. I would try to turn a negative into a positive and say you have both learnt something new about the road rules and move on. I’m not sure why you are posting this here. The person directly affected has said they accept what has happened. I think you should respect that and also move on.

    • +3

      Right of way is a myth, one of the first things they teach you now.

    • +8

      The stopping was the instant fail part.

      She would have been fine if she proceeded at a slow speed.

  • +207

    She should book another driving test and move on. While morally she did the right thing, it seems technically she did not. Sucks but thats life sometimes.

    • +19

      Took the words right out of my mouth. If it'll make her feel any better, the examiner would have failed any other person who did the same thing.

      • Do the test at next closest vr

      • And probably failed her if she just zoomed past.

      • maybe the examiner was hoping that OPs daughter would hit them.

        • -1

          Examiner wanted the “junkies” run over

    • +4

      Yep, I had a very similar experience to OP decades back. The unfortunate thing was I didn't have someone back then to give me the motivation to try again, and delayed the process. OP here at least has OzBargain.

    • -31

      Exactly,the girl did the right thing, the driving examiner has no brains cells to operate outside of any deviation from 'the rules'.

      • +14

        the girl did the right thing

        Based on OPs account of her account of the incident. Examiner and instructor’s account was apparently different.

        • Well no, I did say the facts were not in dispute. Only her motivation to be extra careful that she not run someone over who was apparently under the influence of something !?! But I appreciate the advice :)

          • @gomelbcityfc: Extra careful would be going very slowly; not stopping.

    • yeah op, sorry to hear but thats just how it is in this case.

    • +1

      Yeah this is my impression as well. As a new person I would prefer they err on the side of caution. As an experienced driver I would have just driven through and been mindful of the random kids.

      I would not have expected this to be a straight up fail though.

  • +29

    A whioe lot of words to agree that she technically did the wrong thing, and that's why she was (correctly) failed.

    • +4

      Failure to make proper progress and so a danger to other road users….hence a failure. Lots and lots of words to agree with the judgement.

      • -6

        Newspaper, page 1: Learner driver kills three teenagers on school crossing during licence test; police to thoroughly investigate the tragedy before preparing a report for the coroner; charges to be laid as necessary; learner driver under heavy sedation; licence test examiner placed on paid leave; driving instructor resigns from job; VicRoads says licence examiners to be retrained if training found wanting and road rules changed if deficient; Minister says all recommendations by the Coroner will be fully implemented to ensure such a tragedy never happens again; Prime Minister says it’s simply devastating and nothing short of a catastrophe for three young lives to be cut short like this, and his and the hearts and prayers of all Australians go out to the families involved.
        Just take it as another driving lesson and rebook a test.

  • +52

    Wow, that sucks. I suppose the correct full licence response would be to keep going whilst long beeping them and shouting abuse out the window to go get a job? 🤷🏻‍♂️

    • +4

      its called signalling

    • +2

      A single finger salute would also be a suitable substitute. =D

    • +1

      This is the way

  • +36

    I agree with spaceback. They were not on the road and it was not a proper crossing. Why would a car stop on the road. Slowing down to take care is fine, but no reason to slow down to allow pedestrian to cross at a non-crossing.

    It could lead to an accident as others behind her would not expect her to stop, although if there was an accident, the person behind would be at fault for not paying attention.

    • spaceback

  • +40

    2 against 1.

    Next post - yay! My daughter got her licence. The next day she stopped suddenly in the middle of the road because an echidna was crossing the road. 4 cars then proceeded to crash into her. No dashcam to corroborate said echidna. My daughter says she was in the right.

    • +13

      Don't forget to commend her

    • +12

      Oh and she didn’t have insurance 😉
      I’ve forwarded the repair costs to the echidna but it’s failing to respond

    • +5

      Are you not allowed to stop if there is a hazard on the road?

      Cars behind should be travelling at a safe stopping distance in the event of sudden braking.

      • +11

        Of course you are allowed to stop for hazards on the road. Cars behind should be traveling at a safe distance and speed, unless you're Bruce Jenner, then it's fine. No need to worry about it.

        • or amnesia Dan as he can drive drunk and hit cyclists with impunity! …or was it his wife?

    • +3

      Regardless the 4 cars that rear ended her would be at fault for not keeping a safe distance.

    • -1

      Haha yep she probably would stop for an echidna to cross the road :) but not the smartest thing to do on the road

      • Please tell her to never ever try to stop or swerve for an animal…for insurance purposes. It sucks as its a natural reaction for most drivers but an insurance company will put you directly at fault for yours an anyone elses damages by doing this.

        Happened to my wife but she was one of the affected drivers from another who came to a dead stop on a two lane 70km/h two lane road. Lady in next lane came to a complete stop and person behind her swerved into my wife's lane taking her out plus additional drivers then rear ending original stopped driver all for a fluffy cute dog that apparently has a habit of crossing this busy major road on occasions.

        • Please tell her to never ever try to stop or swerve for an animal…for insurance purposes.

          Can you provide any links to back this up?

          From my experience and research, if you stop without changing lanes, you will not be at fault. If you swerve, you probably will be. If you come to a stop without changing lanes, any driver who rear ends you is not keeping a safe distance and will be found at fault. Safe stopping distance is a fundamental rule.

          New account, so don't want to post links, but this info can be found on Australian law and RAC websites. There are exceptions, such as braking suddenly to harass or annoy, but none that would apply when coming to a stop in your own lane to avoid hitting an animal.

          In the situation you describe, it sounds as if the swerving car was the only one at fault.

          • @dealspls: Will try to find it in writing but was told this over the phone when making the claim. This was Queensland too.

            Edit…Found this


            • @Batapotamus: Thanks for the link!

              make sure that throwing on your brakes on the highway or swerving to avoid it is not going to unreasonably obstruct the path of another vehicle (e.g. on a high speed motorway),

              I see that's probably what you are referring to, but it contradicts everything else I've read, and also other stuff on the very same page. It has the header Avoiding an animal on the roadway is only permissible if it is safe to do so and since, by law, cars must 'maintain a safe stopping distance' at all times, it should be considered always safe to do so in your own lane unless the car behind you is breaking the law, which would put them at fault.

              If you have more links I am still curious. From insurance companies and not lawyers though, as lawyers will promise any old shit to make some $$

              Do you remember which insurance company it was?

              Edit as I can hopefully post links now without triggering some anti spam feature: RAC telling people to brake if they see an animal:

              AAMI also say the same ('Don’t swerve. Slow down and brake'):

              AAMI talking about safe stopping distances: 'In most cases, the driver who ran into the back of the other vehicle is usually found at fault. This can be tricky, because the car in front might have slammed on their brakes suddenly, but it can often be argued that with the right amount of space left a driver should have enough time to safely brake without crashing into the vehicle in front. '

              • @dealspls: It was Budget Direct QLD Branch. My wife was hit due to someone else taking an evasive action to avoid the animal. She was asked whether she took action to avoid the animal and apart from braking but staying in her lane she was told she was not liable as she didn't cause any of the multi car carnage.

    • What about a body cam?

  • +13

    In NSW she would have failed if she did not stop as all school crossings are pedestrian crossings and in school zones you have no idea what young people are going to do and as such better to stop or slow down (even to say 20) than hit and kill a young child. I agree that she did the right thing to stop.

    I took a driving test in the USA and technically failed it, but the examiner let me go though with something where I lost half the points. I was keeping up with the cars on a single lane road that was packed with cars, but they were going 45 in a 35 MPH zone. I examiner did say I was speeding and I said would you have slowed down and caused a more dangerous situation of kept up with the cars in front and he said the road rules are the rules, which I said I agree (as the inference was he did not say to slow down so agreed).

    I think the examiner should have knocked some points, but an automatic failure is just wrong…

    Move on and book another test and try to make sure it's with a different examiner as he/she is not nice.

    • Just based on a google image search, it seems like in QLD they have some crossings that are not zebra stripes. This is likely what she stopped for.

  • +15

    If the instructor isn't backing her then you don't have much to go on. Maybe find a new school if you and your daughter have now lost trust with the instructor.

      • +36

        That is probably the most ridiculous thing I've heard today.

        • +2

          Same! And I read a lot of youtube comments by the way and had a chat with the panda for half an hour.

  • +24

    There's always two sides to a story.

    You were not there, the tester does this as their job and would know what they are doing, even if it seems unfair to you.

    Tell her to learn from this failure and be more prepared for the next test.

    • -5

      I did speak to the instructor by phone later, and she confirmed the facts as i outlined them. The only issue here I guess is a moral one, do you try and save a life if someone stupidly de ides to play on the road, but thanks for your input

      • +15

        Stopping in the middle of the road does not 'save lives'.

        One thing which I didn't get from the above. Which side of the road were the allegedly drunk pedestrians on? The side closest to the car, or the opposite?

        • +12

          Oh wait, I just reread, and you said they were on the 'other' side of the road.

          If that is the case, the examiner was right to fail. That is far too cautious and suggests lack of confidence.

          They were on the opposite side, and not even on the road. If the were on the road, and half way to middle line, then yes, actions would be justified ( though not really, I would not completely stop, just slow down to like 10km/h and drive by with foot over brake pedal). But they weren't even on the road, and even if they got on the road, they had a whole half of the road before they could touch the car.

          You should watch some episodes of 'Driving Test'. There is some episode where a hopeless driver is stressing about a person and a dog walking on the edge of the other side of the road, and the driver is paralyzed and saying 'get off the road' to the instructor in the car during a driving lesson. That is a huge distance away when driving in a car, and is no effort to avoid if you are confident in your skills.

      • +2

        The only issue here I guess is a moral one, do you try and save a life if someone stupidly de ides to play on the road, but thanks for your input

        But there were no lives to save, nobody was in the road.

        Accidents happen when people do unpredictable things, especially in a predictable environment.

        She may have stopped to let them cross (when she did not have to stop) and the car behind her may have rear ended her because they were not expecting her to come to a complete stop (because who does that in the middle of a road?).

        She probably should have lifted off the accelerator, coasted and covered the brake.

  • +7

    What is an unflagged school crossing?

    If it wasn't a pedestrian (zebra) crossing then your daughter is at fault and should be failed. No further action required, just be happy there is no fine coming her way.

    • +5

      It is a school crossing with lines on the road, and red and white poles on the sides of the road, where school students cross between 2.30 and 4 pm —- but apparently only "activated" by a council "lollypop" person putting red "children crossing" flags on the poles, otherwise it is to be treated as a normal open road.

      i.e. no flags = no school crossing

      • +2

        Never knew that was even a thing, does anyone have a satellite view of these type of crossing?

        I've only seen zebra crossings that is coupled as a school crossing.

      • +4

        Might need to read up on the road rules.
        Pedestrians have right of way at zebra crossings, signalised crossings and some paved crossings where it's considered a shared zone.

        You might think being overly cautious is a good thing, but stopping in the middle of a road is the complete opposite of safe.

        • +1

          This exactly!!!

          Specially after lockdown I am seeing more and more people stop for no reason to give way to pedestrians when not required, the pedestrian does not expect this either and causes a big hesitation on their side…

          Most recent one was a SUV dead stopping at the bottom of a hill (70km road) to give way to some pedestrian (no zebra, no light) it took 5s for the pedestrian to gain confidence to walk over (understandably so, I would have done the same).

      • Thanks. I hadn't heard the term "unflagged" before but I guess it makes sense. If the flags aren't there then it isn't an active and normal road rules apply.

  • +13

    I have sympathy for your daughter’s case. I was out walking & saw a young boy on a bike without looking cross an unflagged crossing (no supervisor) outside of school hours (not a zebra crossing).

    If the closest driver had not slammed on the brakes (nearly causing a concertina of cars) it would have been a tragic accident. In this case it was unlikely the driver would have been accountable “lawfully” had they hit the child.

    After all the kid just suddenly turned his bike & without looking went across an unmanned crossing. But who cares about “lawfully” - if you end up living with causing someone serious injury or death.

    If your daughter’s a good driver (and it sounds like she’s off to a good start) she ace the next test.

    That said the tester is just going by the road rules & “technically” what your daughter did was incorrect. The Vic Roads assessor is playing by the black & white road rules - when this is in the grey. They are not allowed to make exceptions in their testing of drivers.

    I think it’s best to commend your daughter for being aware of a potential danger & focus on passing the next time.

  • +25

    Fact - you weren’t there
    - the tester and driving instructor said it was a fail.

    Last fact - your daughter needs more practice on the road and shouldn’t have a licence yet

    • Your last fact is hardly a fact, although likely correct.
      The first two are certainly facts.

  • +7

    'Close to her side of the road' is where she went wrong. No need to stop unless they're walking on the crossing or waiting at the edge of the road line marking looking like they want to cross.

    If I was behind her I probably would have used the horn.

  • +1

    And no Google map link to the traffic island?

    Also, crossing supervisors are supplied by the state government, not local councils (at least in NSW they are supplied by Transport for NSW.)

    Cars still have to give way to pedestrians on the road, but I would need to know more about the area that it happened so I can pitch the relevant legislation.

    • +3

      Pretty sure in VIC the lollipop ladies are local shire / council responsibility

      • +3

        I’m pretty sure the lollipop men are too…

        • very good money, almost as good as a lolly pop operator personage at a Union run construction site!

      • +3

        Well, today I learned. I did fire off before I realised that OP is in Vicwegia. And yes, it seems to be a council related exercise there.

        From the Vic. Road Safety (Traffic Management) Regulations, 2019;

        school crossing supervisor means a person who is employed by a Council to supervise school crossings or who is authorised by a Council for the purposes of regulation 14;

        Either way, driving tester is most probably correct. Under Rule 80 of the Vicwegian Road Rules, it says the crossing must have the flags out to be deemed a school crossing (or the flashing lights) as defined in subrule (6)

        (6) A children's crossing is an area of a road—
        (a) at a place with stop lines marked on the road,
        (i) children crossing flags; or
        (ii) children's crossing signs and twin
        yellow lights

        If the crossing had neither of these things, it is not defined as a school crossing. (But again, would need to see dash cam or Google Maps link to the crossing)

    • Yep, In Dan Country the "lollypop" persons are empolyed by the local council, usually unemployed/retired people who want to make a few dollars on the side, not full time employees by any means

      • very good money, almost as good as a lolly pop operator personage at a Union run construction site!

      • I am sure some do it for the sense of community; not just for money.

    • I have a google picture of it, but i dont have a photo site account to put it up

      • You can use your words, ie; “The crossing just after the round about on the intersection of *random road name* and *other random road* in front of *random school name*” and we are pretty smart and can find it from there.

      • No account needed

      • You can upload to OzBargain - your link

  • +2

    She needs more practice at this time of day

  • +2

    What date did the test actually take place?

    • +2

      Thinking it may have been school holidays?

      • +4

        That was one thought, I was also curious because I didn’t realise the pandemic had ended…

        my daughter had her 1st driving test after the pandemic

    • It was a school day, about 15 minutes later we went back and there were 2, YES 2 lollypop persons manning the crossing about 3 pm, but should have ben there frim 2.30 as signposted

      • +2

        Crossing supervisors don’t work the full 1.5 hours, the school zone is just there to have a blanket time for drivers to slow down, around the times secondary and primary schools usually start/finish with a bit of a buffer.

        Outside a primary school that finishes at 3:30pm the crossing supervisor is usually on duty from 3:15-4:00pm. There’s no point there being a crossing supervisor being there before that time because students won’t be using the crossing.

        It’s a frustrating situation for your daughter… perhaps email a formal complaint and ask what your daughter was supposed to do in this circumstances, and watch them try and justify it.

  • +12

    Interestingly enough, this behaviour that she was failed for, I think correctly, is exactly what autonomous vehicles are programmed to do. There is some concern that idiots will be able to step out onto the road, or even just looking like they might, anywhere and everywhere and rely on the next autonomous vehicle coming down the road to stop, creating traffic chaos. Everywhere will become a pedestrian crossing. Don't bother walking down to the next pedestrian crossing, just walk out onto the road, the cars will stop for you. They'll be programmed to. Take as long as you like crossing. They'll wait. They won't have a choice.

    It has been argued that very low speed limits in areas like shopping centres and CBDs already cause this effect of emboldening pedestrians to walk across the road wherever they like whenever they like without any care for safety. Drivers and other vehicle occupants have rights too. It is necessary for orderly traffic flow for pedestrians to be afraid enough that an oncoming vehicle won't stop that they only cross the road at a designated location like a pedestrian crossing when the light is in their favour, not just wander out onto the road whenever and wherever they like. It is anticipated that in an era of autonomous vehicles curbs on busy roads will have to be fenced to protect cars from pedestrians, and pedestrians from themselves.

    Not that i'm not arguing that drivers should deliberately run down pedestrians who aren't crossing the road legally. Of course they shouldn't. But being too ready to stop if there's even the slightest indication that a pedestrian might being going to cross just encourages bad behaviour on the part of pedestrians. It is necessary for them to be afraid you will hit them that limits any inclination on their part to do really stupid things.

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