New driving tests forced out of town
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.
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.’’