Acting Premier Roger Cook has declined to weigh in on whether WA’s driver training standards are adequate after the death of a 17-year-old who crashed off-road just hours after getting her licence.
Mr Cook said yesterday that WA’s graduate driving regime had improved significantly since he was a teenager as he expressed sympathy for the family of Kimberley Berente.
The teenager was killed on Tuesday just hours after receiving her P-plates when the car she was driving rolled on an unsealed road near Mandurah.
According to the Department of Transport, while novice drivers are required to get at least 50 hours experience under the eye of a supervisor, there was no obligation for any of the training to be done off-road.
Instead, learners were simply encouraged to “get as much supervised driving in as many different road, weather and traffic conditions as you can”.
Mr Cook would not be drawn on whether WA’s road safety rules for novice drivers needed to be tightened, saying he would “leave that up to the experts to make commentary on”.
However, he said the State’s training regime for learner drivers was much safer and more sophisticated compared with when he first got behind the wheel.
“Certainly, since I was a young person, the driving tests and the lessons and the regime associated with that has significantly improved and tightened so that our young drivers today are better prepared for dealing with the roads and the different road conditions than they have ever been,” Mr Cook said.
“This is a horrible and tragic set of circumstances and events and it comes at a time when a young person in our community should be celebrating a terrific milestone.
“These are very tragic circumstances and none of us want to see it happen.”