Benalla Ensign

New L2P car funded

- By Simon Ruppert

Young learner drives in Benalla will have a brand new car to safely practice for their driving test thanks to three local groups.

Benalla Toyota, Winton Motor Raceway and Benalla Auto Club are providing a car to enable Benalla Rural City Council to continue to run the L2P learner drive program.

The program helps young people gain the practice hours required to obtain their driver licence. The previous L2P vehicle completed more than 200,000km.

The Transport Accident Commission (TAC) L2P Program assists learners, 16 to 21 years of age, who do not have access to a supervisin­g driver or car, to gain the driving experience required to apply for a probationa­ry licence.

Young people are matched with fully licensed volunteer mentors who are given access to a car to provide a supervised driving experience to learner drivers.

The TAC L2P Program is a partnershi­p between local councils and community organisati­ons, the Department of Transport and the TAC.

Locally the program is delivered by Benalla Rural City Council.

The TAC L2P program in Benalla was initially operated by North East Support and action for youth with support from council.

It started out with just six learner drivers and volunteers.

In 2014, council took over delivery of the program with support from Benalla Toyota, who donated a Yaris, and later a Toyota Corolla in 2018.

Benalla Rural City Mayor Bernie Hearn applauded the success of the program.

“Since the L2P program commenced, more than 260 young people have participat­ed,” Cr Hearn said.

“With more than 150 gaining their probationa­ry licence.

“We have had a total of 67 mentors participat­e in the program (in) the past 11 years.

“Together, these amazing volunteers have freely given more than 9000 driving hours of their time to help young people get their licence, which in turn helps these young people to seize work and study opportunit­ies that they may not otherwise have had access to.”

TAC chief executive officer Joe Calafiore said the program was always on the lookout for new mentors in regional areas.

“There are more than 1500 volunteer mentors in Victoria,” Mr Calafiore said.

“Now we’re calling on more (mentors) to volunteer to support the next generation of drivers to accrue the minimum 120 hours of supervised experience they need to become safe solo drivers.”

Victorian Roads and Safety Minister Ben Carroll said more than 7000 young Victorian drivers have gained their probationa­ry licence through the L2P Program since it began — giving them an opportunit­y for independen­ce they may otherwise not have had.

“We know the benefits of the TAC L2P Program extend well beyond road safety — it gives young Victorians better access to employment

opportunit­ies, enhanced mobility and increased social connection,” Mr Carroll said.

Cr Hearn acknowledg­ed the sponsors who supported the L2P Learner Driver Mentor program, includ

ing Benalla Toyota, Winton Motor Raceway and Benalla Auto Club.

If you are intereted in volunteeri­ng with the L2P program, phone council on 5760 2600.

 ?? ?? Ready to hit the road: L2P Mentors and learner drivers at Benalla Toyota when it assisted with a new Corolla in 2018.
Ready to hit the road: L2P Mentors and learner drivers at Benalla Toyota when it assisted with a new Corolla in 2018.

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