Service SA temporarily suspends some services due to COVID-19.

LICENCE: Teenagers need their driver's licences so that they can take part-time jobs.
LICENCE: Teenagers need their driver's licences so that they can take part-time jobs.

Young people who were geared up to gain their learner permits are now stuck in limbo.

This is because of suspensions enforced within Service SA that temporarily freeze their chances.

The traditional method of gaining a licence ended this week after the state government unveiled measures within their centres as part of a strong plan to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

While the Service SA outlets remain open, more than a handful of their dedicated support services have temporarily closed. This includes driver tests.

Murray Bridge's Emma Patterson has since voiced her concerns, saying the suspension could potentially put her son and many other teenagers behind by a year.

"My son turned 16 in January and, after doing online tests, he finally built up the confidence to go for it," she said.

Ms Paterson said a visit to their local Service SA branch on Thursday soon dashed her 16-year-old son's hopes of gaining a licence any time soon.

"We were told this service was suspended until further notice," Ms Paterson said.

"I also called TAFE as they do a course and they have stopped their service as well."

The suspension has since left her frustrated about what this will mean for young people, especially in the country, who will eventually need their licences for part-time work.

Ms Paterson said that in line with social distancing, the dedicated testing room should be sufficient to work within the service's safety requirements.

"I don't understand why they can't limit their testing appointments to five, or three or even two and one, whatever they choose so they he and others can sit the test," she said.

"I could then be doing the driving hours with my son as it is not as if we are breaking any other rules. There is nothing that would affect social distancing."

On Friday, Ms Paterson became even more frustrated when she saw driving lessons taking place in her street.

"One of the cars was a private operator and the other was a fully- marked driving instructor," she said.

"Obviously, driving instructors have not been shut down, so this makes no sense to stop the testing."

Service SA is yet to confirm whether driving instructors are still permitted.

Ms Paterson fears the unknown waiting time for young people to gain licences will be a problem.

"The earlier they start driving, the better they will be in the long run," she said.

The state government said it was committed to measures to make the centres safe for users and staff amid the crisis.

Service SA has temporarily suspended:

  • Practical Driving Assessments for medical reasons;
  • Rider Safe training and assessment courses;
  • Learner theory, hazard perception and boat licence testing, including theory tests for overseas licence transfers;
  • Non-essential transactions at centres, that is issue of special (custom) number plates, issuing proof of age card, issue of an unregistered vehicle permit etc;
  • Training and assessment of applicants for a Motor Driving Instructors licence and for appointment as an Authorised Examiner; and the need for most people to attend a medical practitioner to complete a Certificate of Fitness to retain a driver's licence.

These changes are further to measures already introduced:

  • Customers are requested to use EFTPOS facilities where possible rather than cash;
  • Five-metre separation lines have been introduced for customers at counters, seating has been separated to support social distancing protocols and assisted self-service kiosks are temporarily unavailable at the Adelaide and Tranmere centres to ensure social distancing protocols can be appropriately modelled;
  • Restrictions on how many customers can enter a centre any time, based on the size of the centre (in line with protocols for indoor gatherings);
  • Service SA staff members are wiping down all surface areas and customers who are sick when they arriving are being asked not to enter.

"These changes are about reducing non-essential transactions which will help customers and staff to practise social distancing," said Transport Minister Stephan Knoll.

Mr Knoll encourages anyone who needs help to first head to www.service.sa.gov.au, saying the vast majority of essential transactions or services are available online.

Those needing more help should call Service SA on 13 10 84 to see whether an alternate service option is available.