The South Australian VORT Test

Part 1:

This is the first in a short series of articles concerning the Vehicle On Road Test here in South Australia. The information in this series is specific to SA, and as such if you live in another state or territory please refer to your own state’s driving test information.

There is a certain degree of reluctance among many learners in South Australia to gain their Ps via this route. Most of their “issues” with the VORT appear to be based around many urban myths.

  • It is much easier and cheaper to do the logbook
  • No one passes their VORT the first time
  • Examiners and instructors collude to make more money
  • I don’t do well in tests so the logbook will be better for me
  • My friend said the logbook is easier
  • The major driving schools say it is better to do the logbook
  • You fail for silly things like not signalling long enough before moving away from the kerb.

These are all statements that I have heard and read concerning the VORT, and not one of them is really accurate.

Let’s discuss each statement in turn:

It is much easier and cheaper to do the logbook:

          Learning to drive is learning to drive, whichever route you choose to take to get your Ps. Some people will find it extremely easy some will find it a real challenge. What is more important to your success, and ease of success, is the quality of the training you receive. Learning to drive well takes time and effort, so it is an expensive process. To acquire your Ps using the logbook, or more correctly the CBT&A, method takes longer than to use the VORT route when compared with like for like learner. Longer instructor contact = higher cost.


No one passes their VORT the first time:

This one is simply a blatant untruth. Many people pass the VORT first time; in fact the vast majority of my students have passed first time. Yes sometimes people do not pass, however even with the logbook method it is still necessary to carry out a final drive and many people do not pass that first time either. The greatest reason that people fail their VORT the first time is because they either do it themselves when mum or dad think they are a “good” driver, when in reality they aren’t, if for no other reason than they have not been taught road law correctly or they haven’t been taught the “niceties” of the manoeuvres or the sequences.


Examiners and instructors collude to make more money:

Although sadly, there are undoubtedly corrupt examiners and instructors out there, the industry is making strong attempts to remove them. No reputable examiner or instructor is going to partake of this behaviour. Although such behaviour may, in the very short term raise more money for the instructor, reputation is built from satisfied students so in the long term it would likely be far from beneficial. It is also just as likely to see a student move to another instructor so would not bring any benefit, even in the short term. Although I often joke with my examiner that he is passing too many of my students, I would much rather have happy competent students that will recommend me to their friends as a great instructor rather than possibly a few extra dollars for an extra lesson or two.


I don’t do well in tests so the logbook will be better for me:

          When you follow the logbook method you will be doing many many tests as each competency has to be marked off, most on several occasions. Also as I’ve already stated earlier you must also do a final drive, which is just like a VORT without the manoeuvres, of which you will have been tested previously on multiple occasions and on more of them.


My friend said the logbook is easier:

          Maybe your friend was one of the few people for which the logbook was the better path to follow. However, do they have anything to directly compare their experience with? It is highly unlikely, as one person’s experience is going to differ from another.


The major driving schools say it is better to do the logbook:

          Of course they do. The logbook requires far more lessons with an instructor which equates to far more cash flowing through the company’s books.

When they say better, do they mean for the learner or for the school?


You fail for silly things like not signalling long enough before moving away from the kerb:

          While this one is not entirely untrue, yes you would fail for not signalling long enough before moving away from the kerb, it is not actually a silly thing. The law specifies that you signal for at least five seconds before moving away from stationary at the kerb. If you don’t do that you have broken the law, if you break the law you will immediately fail the test, even if you have a perfect drive to that point. The examiner cannot pass you if you do not comply 100% with road law. If you did the same thing on your final drive doing the logbook method you would fail also.

Whether or not this is a stupid law is irrelevant to this blog and I will not express an opinion either way. It is worth pointing out that, although it rarely, if ever, appears to be enforced by SAPOL, it is worth 2 demerit points and $363 expiation fee (incl the Victims of Crime Levy)

There are many other myths about why the logbook is better, but when you actually take a moment to analyse them clearly they all turn out to be nothing more than myths.

In the next article in this series I will talk about the operation of the VORT, introduce the mark sheet and explain the marking system.