FF wants more fo­cus on train­ing driv­ers than age

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery -

Fed­er­ated Farm­ers has told the Trans­port and In­dus­trial Re­la­tions Se­lect Com­mit­tee con­sid­er­ing the Land Trans­port (Driver Li­cens­ing) Amend­ment Bill and the Land Trans­port (Road Safety & Other Mat­ters) Amend­ment Bill that driver ed­u­ca­tion should be based on struc­tured train­ing and not an ar­bi­trary age.

‘‘In re­al­ity, what’s be­ing pro­posed is an in­crease in the un­su­per­vised driv­ing age from 151⁄ to 17 years – not 16 as many peo­ple seem to think,’’ said Don­ald Aubrey, Fed­er­ated Farm­ers trans­port spokesman.

‘‘ Some­how the de­bate has be­come about at­tribut­ing ma­tu­rity to age in­stead of abil­ity.

‘‘With­out a shred of ev­i­dence, this change seems more based on hunches and cau­sa­tional links that you’ll be a safer driver be­cause you’re 18 months older.

‘‘We told the Se­lect Com­mit­tee that what Fed­er­ated Farm­ers wanted was a much greater fo­cus on the learner pe­riod. That in­cludes ex­tend­ing the learner driver pe­riod from six months to one year.

‘‘Train­ing needs to oc­cur at a time when young peo­ple are im­pres­sion­able, teach­able and fo­cused. Su­per­vi­sion, ex­pe­ri­ence and struc­tured train­ing are much greater de­ter­mi­nants for cre­at­ing than just your birth date.

‘‘All the statis­tics show that the learner li­cence pe­riod is the safest pe­riod of a driver’s life. The ac­ci­dent spike comes when driv­ers ob­tain their re­stricted li­cence and drive solo. That’s why we also sup­port the grad­u­ated driver li­cens­ing sys­tem,’’ Mr Aubrey said. ‘‘I hon­estly feel driver train­ing and li­cens­ing should learn from the struc­tured train­ing pri­vate pi­lots un­dergo.

‘‘I mean, isn’t it odd that we’ll trust a stu­dent pi­lot to solo in a Piper Chero­kee at age 16 but we won’t trust them with the Corolla to get to the aero­drome?

‘‘ While Fed­er­ated Farm­ers sup­ports a zero al­co­hol limit for driv­ers un­der the age 20, Par­lia­ment is mov­ing to close up the le­gal ages for driv­ing and le­gal drink­ing. That’s a recipe for dis­as­ter in our eyes.

‘‘While we down­played the ef­fect on ru­ral chil­dren and ru­ral fam­i­lies in our sub­mis­sion, be­cause there are com­pelling rea­sons for leav­ing the age and mak­ing train­ing more rig­or­ous, there will be a big im­pact.

‘‘Pub­lic trans­port is fea­si­ble in Welling­ton but not in places like Wait­omo,’’ Mr Aubrey said.



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