Residents have voiced concerns about the reliability of driving assessments for young motorists in the region and called for in-car monitoring. Parents of L-platers going for their provisional licences were already frustrated at long wait times for test bookings, but local mother Kay Botes believed revenue raising was driving tough driving tests failed by many teens. “My daughter has been failed three times now,” Mrs Botes said. “If she were a bad driver I could understand. However, among her peers, who all have their driving licence, she is known as the most trustworthy, safe and reliable driver.” Mrs Botes understood she might appear precious, but she and other parents had shared stories which included driving students led into very difficult situations or given instructions against the road rules and then failed when they complied. “I would like to call for the placement of cameras to be involved in driving assessments just as they are with taxi drivers, as much for safety as the honesty of assessors,” she said. Figures provided to the Times by WA’s Department of Transport showed Margaret River’s pass rates for first-time assessments were the equal worst in the South West. Just 29 per cent of learners scored their P-plates on the first go in Margaret River, though the biggest testing centre in Bunbury recorded the same rate. Busselton came in next at 34 per cent, while Donnybrook and Manjimup learners fared only slightly better. The first-time pass rate compared to Collie, Harvey and Bridgetown where more than 50 per cent of students passed. Margaret River recorded 93 passes in total and 107 fails, which was a similar ratio to other locations except Collie and Busselton which had a higher overall pass rate, despite plenty of failed tests. A Transport spokesperson said in-car surveillance was not in consideration, with assessors already using the iAssess platform which involved GPS tracking and voice recording “to ensure transparency”. Transport also rejected suggestions assessors tricked learners into failing. “Transport has strict standards that all driving assessors must adhere to, including how instructions are given to candidates,” the spokesperson said. “They assess candidates’ competence as a safe driver and provide feedback as needed to help them meet the required competency.” Additionally, assessors used two scenarios — ‘stopping for shopping’ and ‘left something behind’ — to test candidates. South West Coastal Driver owner Tony Gurney said student anxiety was the biggest hurdle to passing assessments, which needed to be stringent due to increased local traffic. “It is no longer a drive around the block and a hill start as many of us remember,” he said. “We feel the major contributing factors to failure by students are anxiety, stress and unpreparedness.” In 2021, Transport received 26 complaints for the South West out of 2725 driving tests. “If candidates have any concerns regarding their PDA (driving test), the Department of Transport encourages them to discuss them with the centre manager,” the spokesperson said.