Date check required on alpine driver's licence

Many coach operators may be unaware that Victoria's hazardous conditions driver's authority requires five-year renewal, a leading training provider says

Date check required on alpine driver's licence
Date check required on alpine driver’s licence

By David Goeldner | July 7, 2010

Coach operators heading to Victoria’s ski resorts should ensure their drivers have a current Hazardous Area Driver Authority before tackling the icy conditions.

Driver Education Centres of Australia (DECA) Sales and Marketing GM Ian Mearns says many operators don’t realise that the authority – issued by Vic Roads – needs renewal every five years.

He says only experienced bus drivers should consider getting an authority, obtained by doing a four-day approved course.

"To retain the authority for another five years you must do a refresher course," Mearns says.

And while there are several training providers, Mearns says DECA is well-placed to give operators what they need in hazardous alpine coach driver training.

Training is conducted at Bright, close to the snowfields in regional Victoria.

Mearns says DECA recently bought a Scania Kl13 48-seat coach equipped with an eight-speed synchromesh gearbox, specifically for snowfields driver training.

"A coach with a synchromesh gearbox is something the operators have been asking for, and is close to what they would operate on a day to day basis," he says.

DECA also use an older non-synchro Denning, there are a number of companies still using ‘crash box’ coaches in the snow, Mearns says.

He says each coach is prepared for alpine conditions, anti-freeze and chains.

Mearns says the course is run in groups of four, either as a day and half refresher or a four-day full course for first time alpine drivers.

He says course participants must already hold a current Heavy Rigid licence.

VicRoads will issue the Hazardous Area Driving Authority after the course is completed.

Mearns says demand for driver training of this type in Australia is a function of the tourism business.

"If the demand for ski holidays increase there will be increased demand for coaches and alpine driver training," he says.

He says the all operators should be aware that to drive a coach or a bus in the snowfields in Victoria you must have the appropriate driver’s authority.

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