A LACK of driving examiners is forcing Rockhampton learners to either travel hundreds of kilometres to sit their test or face a lengthy period on the sidelines, a driving instructor says.
It's a situation that's not only affecting local learner drivers but hurting instructors, like Peter Ceola.
Learners are not able to book their test in Rockhampton at the moment after the recent resignation of one of a small number of examiners, which Peter said had made a bad situation worse.
Industry insiders say previously there was a waiting period of a few weeks, but now no new bookings are being taken.
The Bulletin asked about the backlog yesterday and was told the Rockhampton centre was fully booked because of the loss of the examiner.
A Department of Transport and Main Roads spokesman said there had been a significant increase in people wanting to sit their test. He said a recruitment drive was on for examiners.
Peter said his repeated warnings had been ignored.
"It's impacting severely on business," Peter said.
"There's been a drop in bookings with tests so far away.
"If you've got a son right now and his log is approved and I say I can't book him in for a test, he's going to go on the internet and probably go to Gladstone tomorrow morning where he can sit the exam," Peter said.
"I can't take him to Gladstone and cancel all my other appointments, so that leaves me out of pocket. It all adds up."
He said in busy months he would put between 40 and 50 learners for their test and about a dozen in quieter times.
He is not the only instructor upset.
The department spokesman said: "We have recently been experiencing a significant increase in demand for practical driving tests in the Rockhampton area.
"That's why Transport and Main Roads is recruiting driving examiners to meet growing demand in the region.
"Practical driving test slots can be booked online, through your driver trainer, by calling 132 390, or in person at a customer service centre, QGAP office or licence issuing police station.
"Bookings are allocated on a first-in best-dressed basis. But if you can't book a test slot at your preferred location, we encourage people to keep checking the TMR website for cancelled test reservations."