L-plate drivers are reluctant to complain over “inappropriate” instructors.
L-plate drivers are reluctant to complain over “inappropriate” instructors.

Two driving instructors behave 'sexually'

A RELUCTANCE to report allegations of inappropriate behaviour has one established Townsville driving school concerned rogue instructors remain free to prey on vulnerable students.

Graduate School of Motoring director Heath Ward said he had spoken with victims who were "shying away" from making formal complaints, due in part to what he said was an overly complicated process.

Mr Ward, who had been in the industry about a decade, knew of at least two instructors in Townsville who had "major concerns" aired about them over sexually inappropriate behaviour while on lessons.

One long-term instructor was known within driver training circles as "touchy-feely".

Mr Ward said they had sacked an instructor previously over inappropriate behaviour but had been unable to persuade the student to put their complaint in writing to the Department of Transport and Main Roads, after raising the issue verbally.

He said the department's complaint process was "drawn out" and acted as a deterrent for many victims, particularly those from low socio-economic or migrant backgrounds.

Mr Ward was concerned about damage to the industry's reputation by rogue instructors and urged victims to file complaints with the police and the department.

"When a student has a bad experience unfortunately one bad egg taints the basket," he said.

"Some of these people (learner drivers) are vulnerable enough that they wouldn't stand up for themselves."

He said he'd like to think, as most parents would, that when an accredited instructor turned up to take his children for a driving lesson they would be safe, but it wasn't always the case.

"We (business owners) don't see the criminal history check or anything," Mr Ward said. "I have no trust in the system."

He said it was a difficult process to have an instructor's Blue Card revoked and that was a major concern.

A Department of Transport and Main Roads spokesman said accredited driver trainers were urged to have a "documented complaints procedure" that they advised learner drivers of prior to a lesson starting.

"Information about the procedure should also be made available to family members or a guardian of the learner driver if requested," he said.

A Department of Justice and Attorney-General spokesman said anyone charged with a disqualification offence, including child-related sex offences or child pornography, would have their Blue Card suspended.

"Any card holder or applicant charged by police for any other offence has their Blue Card status reassessed," the spokesman said.

He said Blue Card Services could refer matters to police if they became aware a person may be committing an offence.



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