Driv­ers’ li­cence tests not so easy to pass

Matamata Chronicle - - News/opinion -

The NZ Trans­port Agency is urg­ing young driv­ers and their par­ents to put in plenty of prac­tice be­fore book­ing ap­point­ments to sit tougher on-road driv­ing tests be­ing in­tro­duced from next week.

The agency has been work­ing for sev­eral months to de­velop a new and more chal­leng­ing on- road test for learner driv­ers en­ter­ing the re­stricted li­cens­ing phase. The new prac­ti­cal test aims to im­prove the safety of young and novice driv­ers as part of the Gov­ern­ment’s Safer Jour­neys road safety strat­egy.

The new test comes into force on Fe­bru­ary 27 and the The agency is re­mind­ing young driv­ers and their par­ents that a sub­stan­tial amount of su­per­vised prac­tice will be needed to pre­pare for and pass the more chal­leng­ing test.

Agency chief ex­ec­u­tive Ge­off Danger­field said the new test had been specif­i­cally de­signed to en­cour­age learner driv­ers to clock up 120 hours of su­per­vised prac­tice be­fore they sat the test and that level of prepa­ra­tion would be needed to pass.

‘‘The new test will be much more chal­leng­ing. Young driv­ers will need to put in a lot more prac­tice and demon­strate a higher stan­dard of driv­ing to pass, and we make no apolo­gies for that. The more ex­pe­ri­ence that young driv­ers gain in the learner li­cens­ing phase the less likely they are to crash when they be­gin driv­ing alone and we are do­ing young peo­ple no favours with a ‘ once over lightly’ ap­proach.’’

Re­search shows that young driv­ers who com­plete 120 hours of su­per­vised prac­tice on their learner li­cence have a solo-driv­ing crash rate 40 per cent lower than those who only com­plete 50 hours. Young driv­ers are most at risk dur­ing the first six to 12 months of their re­stricted li­cence phase, when they start to drive solo, and are four times more likely to crash than learner driv­ers.

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