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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Bush Fire Causing Power Outages

The latest bush fire in the north-eastern Victoria has caused a major problem for Melbourne this afternoon/evening. The bush fire apparently burnt power transmission line that connects Victoria with the national power grid. It caused mass power outages around metropolitan Melbourne, resulting in havoc during the peak hours of people commuting home from work.

For Melbourne and it modern life style that rely heavily on electricity, mass power outages mean trams, traffic lights and trains are functioning properly. Furthermore, electricity that supplies lifts of many office buildings and apartments is also likely to be cut off. People were trapped in the lifts. Air Conditioners do not work properly, meaning problems for people who have respiratory problems because of no air circulations.

It was quite bad especially because today was quite hot, about 40 degrees Celcius around Melbourne. Several road accidents immediately straight after the power outages, ambulances were seen traveling fast along the main highway near Monash campus. It is quite a problem here, unlike it was in my home town, where power outage is "normal". It is normal because most of the time we don't have power supply at all. :)

Monday, January 08, 2007

Probationary License

It is official!
I am now a legal car driver, but it is only on Probationary License, which means I still have to tell other road users to be aware of my driving skill, by displaying a P plate, with white P letter on red background.

The road to get a P-License for driving a car in Victoria is quite long. It started with taking computer-based exam to get a Learner Permit. The L permit holder can only proceed to take P-License test if they have hold the L permit for at least 3 months. It will be longer for someone who is under 21 years old, at least 6 months.

A minimum 120 hours of supervised driving is suggested to all L permit holders before they proceed to P License. The minimum 120 hours will be mandatory starting in July 2008, and evidence to show this requirement has been fulfilled will be requested by the licensing office.

To get the P License, a driver has to take two exams, including computer-based Hazard Perception Test and Practical Driving Test. The Hazard Perception Test must be taken first and Practical Driving Test can be taken only when the applicant has passed the Hazard Perception Test.

The P-License will expiry in 3 years time, and assuming the driver shows a good behaviour, he/she can get the full license after 3 years. By then, no more P plate on the front and back screen of the car.