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Helping hand for young Christchurch drivers

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A programme has started to help young Christchurch learner drivers to get their restricted licence.

Constable Sara McLauchlan has volunteered to mentor 24-year-old Jasmine Giles through the new Community Driver Mentor Programme in Christchurch.

Constable Sara McLauchlan has volunteered to mentor 24-year-old Jasmine Giles through the new Community Driver Mentor Programme in Christchurch.

Christchurch is the fourth region to adopt the Community Driver Mentor Programme that’s been a big success in Waitomo, Porirua and Gisborne.

The programme addresses the issues facing 16-24 year-old learner drivers wanting to get their restricted licence such as access to a suitable vehicle, a mentor and driving practice, says the NZ Transport Agency’s National Manager Design Cate Quinn.

“Overseas research suggests that learner drivers should practice driving as much as possible before they start driving solo. They should also practice driving in a wide variety of driving conditions and situations.

“Getting this practice can be difficult; some learner drivers need support to gain driver time and experience.”

She says several young Christchurch drivers have less than ideal access to a licenced vehicle or an appropriate experienced driver to supervise them during driving which is where the Community Driver Mentor Programme comes in.

This $100,000 national Community Driver Mentor Programme is a partnership involving the Transport Agency, AA, The Salvation Army Education & Employment and NZ Police, with sponsorship by Chevron New Zealand.

The Transport Agency provides the car for the driving lessons; the AA provides each learner driver with three lessons – the first at the start of the 12-week programme to assess the individual’s level of competency, a progression lesson halfway through and a final exit assessment – while Chevron New Zealand through its Caltex brand provides the fuel for the lessons.

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