Ten young Christchurch drivers today (26 March) graduated from the Community Driver Mentor Programme (CDMP) aimed at helping them to gain their restricted licence and become safer on our roads.
The CDMP is a partnership between the NZ Transport Agency and NZ AA, Salvation Army Education & Employment and NZ Police, with sponsorship by Chevron New Zealand (Caltex) and Hyundai New Zealand.
The programme addresses the disadvantages that learner drivers in the 16 to 24-year age group can face getting their restricted licence, such as having access to a suitable vehicle or an appropriate experienced driver to help them practice, says the Transport Agency’s Access & Use General Manager Celia Patrick.
“Overseas research suggests learner drivers need up to 120 hours of practice in a wide range of conditions and situations before they head out alone. The reality is, some learner drivers need support to get this – and that’s where the Community Driver Mentor Programme comes in,” says Ms Patrick.
Programme participants were partnered with volunteer mentor drivers who commit to spending 30 hours driving with the learners to foster positive driving habits and help them get the range of experience and skills they need to stay safe on New Zealand roads*.
Caltex are providing $100,000 of fuel for the national programme, which the company helped to launch in early 2013.
“We’ve always been excited by the potential of this programme to make a real difference in the lives of young people and are thrilled to see the results it’s achieving – not only in creating safer driving behaviours, but also in the opportunities that come with being a fully licensed driver,” says Chevron NZ General Manager Dean Gilbert.
“This is a true community partnership and it addresses Caltex’s top priority of safety on our roads. As a community, we need to do everything we can to protect young New Zealanders when driving, and we know that more experience makes learner drivers safer on our roads,” says Mr Gilbert.
Hyundai recently added their support to the programme, with three of their dealers (Gary Cockram Hyundai, Manukau Hyundai, and IC Motors in Whangarei) providing brand new 5-star ANCAP rated i20s for learners to use.
Gary Cockram Hyundai Dealer Principal, Dougal Cockram says the programme was a natural fit for the company, which strives to be a leader in the vehicle safety arena.
“Helping these young drivers to reduce their risk and avoid accidents has got to be one of the best investments any of us can make in vehicle safety and we’re thrilled to see the difference it’s making”, says Mr Cockram.
The programme is also running in Porirua, Te Kuiti, Gisborne, South Auckland and Whangarei.
A total of 172 young drivers have graduated through the programme to date.
Over the last five years (2010-2014) in Christchurch, there have been 18 deaths and 300 serious injuries in crashes in which a 15-24 year old driver was involved.
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