New driv­ing tests forced out of town

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - By LAURA MCLEAY

Sit­ting your re­stricted or full driver’s li­cence in Mata­mata is set to be­come a thing of the past from Fe­bru­ary 27.

Any­one who wants to get their li­cence will have to travel to Mor­rinsville or Hamil­ton as the New Zealand Trans­port Agency be­lieves Mata­mata roads lack the com­plex­ity needed for the new re­stricted li­cence test that comes into ef­fect on this date.

The learner driver’s li­cence can still be booked and sat in Mata­mata.

Agency me­dia man­ager Andy Knack­st­edt said there was a chance the tests would come back to Mata­mata in the fu­ture but at the mo­ment drivers ea­ger to get their li­cence would have to travel out of town.

‘‘ The NZTA is cur­rently re­view­ing whether all cur­rent test sites are able to sup­port the more com­plex driv­ing sce­nar­ios re­quired by the strength­ened test.

‘‘Each test route needs to have a num­ber of driv­ing sit­u­a­tions such as merg­ing lanes, round­abouts and traf­fic sig­nals,’’ he said.

‘‘While new test routes have now been devel­oped for some lo­ca­tions, in­clud­ing Hamil­ton and Mor­rinsville, other sites – in­clud­ing Mata­mata – have yet to have a new test de­signed and they will not be tak­ing mean­time.’’

The re­stricted test will change from half an hour to one hour to en­sure young and novice drivers have the ex­pe­ri­ence and skills needed to be on the road alone.

Novice drivers will also be en­cour­aged to have 120 hours of driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence be­fore sit­ting the test.

‘‘In­creas­ing the chal­lenge of the re­stricted driver’s li­cence test will en­cour­age learner drivers to get more su­per­vised prac­tice be­fore they sit the test, which will en­sure they are safer on the road,’’ Mr Knack­st­edt said.

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While Mata­mata’s AA driv­ing in­struc­tor James Tur­ney sup­ports the new chal­leng­ing re­stricted test, he said cut­ting Mata­mata off the list and leav­ing Mor­rinsville on does not make any sense.

‘‘I find it ironic that with State High­way 27 go­ing through here, they can claim that Mor­rinsville is busier than here,’’ he said

‘‘When you fac­tor in the time, has­sle and the ex­tra cost, it will not be easy for lo­cals.’’

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