Driving instructor Dale Press with his manual and automatic vehicles
Driving instructor Dale Press with his manual and automatic vehicles Southern Cross Advanced Driving

Automatic licenses take over as teen anxiety increases

MORE fledgling drivers are avoiding getting their manual licences, opting instead for the ease of an automatic.

Fernvale-based driving instructor Dale Press has seen this demand gradually grow since he first began training learner drivers.

Dale's school, Southern Cross Advanced Driving, has operated in the Ipswich, Lockyer Valley and Somerset regions for the past four-and-a-half years.

"When I first started the driving school, I only had the manual vehicle. It was exactly three years ago last weekend that I got an auto," he said.

"In my first month of having the auto I had five lessons. The same month three years later I have forty lessons booked."

The shift towards automatics has been even more extreme in other areas.

"A friend of mine who has a driving school in Ipswich has dropped his manual lessons and is now fully booked eight weeks in advance with auto lessons," he said.

Do you have a manual or auto licence?

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"My driving school, being in a more rural area, a lot of parents who have manual licences and manual vehicles will naturally recommend the kids drive manual cars. But even in the rural environment I'm starting to see more auto lessons coming through."

Dale said he could spend hours discussing the reasons for the move away from manual vehicles.

"Some people, they can't even lift a finger to operate an indicator, so why would they bother trying to cope with a manual? Comparing to my teenage years there is a lot more people who suffer with nervous disorders and anxiety. Taking the manual transmission away from them helps to alleviate some of that anxiety and nervousness," he said.

With Australian roads becoming busier, Dale said the ease of operating an automatic in stop-and-start traffic also contributed towards the appeal of automatic vehicles.

"There is more demand for auto and the manual transmission is a dying breed," he said.

"It doesn't really matter which option you choose. Either way there'll always be available vehicles of your choice but it depends on what choice you want to make."


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