More driv­ers pass­ing test

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

The New Zealand Trans­port Agency says the lat­est re­sults from the new re­stricted li­cence prac­ti­cal driver test­ing regime show that more learner driv­ers are get­ting the mes­sage that a higher level of prepa­ra­tion and prac­tice is needed to pass the new tests.

Af­ter six months and more than 26,000 re­stricted li­cence prac­ti­cal tests con­ducted un­der the new regime, the over­all pass rate has grad­u­ally risen to 46 per cent, up from 38 per cent af­ter the first month of test­ing but still well be­low the pass rate of about 80 per cent un­der the old sys­tem.

Agency chief ex­ec­u­tive Ge­off Danger­field said while no tar­gets had been set, a sig­nif­i­cant drop in pass rates had been expected when the new test­ing regime was rolled out on Fe­bru­ary 27.

‘‘ The new test is more chal­leng­ing and a higher stan­dard of driv­ing is needed to pass. We expected that pass rates would drop pretty sharply when the new test was brought in but we also expected the pass rates would grad­u­ally in­crease over time, as the mes­sage fil­tered through to learner driv­ers and they be­gan to put in the kind of prepa­ra­tion and prac­tice needed to raise their skills to a higher level.’’

Mr Danger­field said the new test had been de­signed to im­prove safety by en­cour­ag­ing learner driv­ers to clock up at least 120 hours of su­per­vised prac­tice be­fore they sat the test. 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.

‘‘We need to re­mem­ber what this new test is all about – re­duc­ing need­less deaths and in­juries on our roads, im­prov­ing the stan­dards of learner driv­ers and en­cour­ag­ing them to take the time to de­velop their skills and build a solid and a safe foun­da­tion. We were do­ing learner driv­ers no favours with a ‘once over lightly’ ap­proach.’’

Mr Danger­field urged learner driv­ers and their fam­i­lies to take ad­van­tage of free re­sources avail­able to help de­velop safe driv­ing skills, in­clud­ing the NZTA/ ACC Prac­tice pro­gramme ( prac­tice. co. nz) which is specif­i­cally aimed at help­ing young driv­ers get 120 hours of su­per­vised driv­ing un­der their belts be­fore sit­ting the re­stricted test, and safe­teen­driver.co.nz, where par­ents can find a wide range of tools and prac­ti­cal ad­vice on how to help teenagers stay safe on our roads.

“Par­ents have a huge role to play in im­prov­ing the safety of our young driv­ers, and these web­sites pro­vide some great free tools to help them play an ac­tive role in teach­ing teens.

Fur­ther in­for­ma­tion about the new re­stricted driver li­cence test is avail­able on the NZTA web­site at nzta.govt.nz.

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