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Practice makes better drivers

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If you’re planning on teaching your teenage children to drive over the summer holidays, you’ll need to make sure they get plenty of practice. Getting a driver’s licence is a step towards independence and freedom for many young people but it can also lead to horrific consequences. That’s why ACC and the NZ Transport Agency have re-developed ‘Practice’.

‘Practice’ is a practical driving programme designed for 15 – 19 year olds who already have their learner licence and the people who are teaching them to drive. It aims to make new drivers less likely to crash by helping them become safer and more competent. It also helps the people who are guiding them through the process of learning to drive by providing tips on how to explain everything from ‘starting off’ to ‘driving at night’.
 
Michael Cummins, NZTA Road User Behaviour Manager said every year around 20 teenage drivers aged die on our roads, with a further 1,400 seriously injured.
 
“Young drivers should be practicing with parents or other experienced drivers in all possible conditions, including wet weather and at night. Driving down to the shops and back each day is not enough. Learning skills such as heavy braking, driving on multi-lane roads and overtaking safely can be invaluable.” 
 
The website (www.practice.co.nz(external link)) has been given a fresh new look and extra features have been introduced, making it easier for learners to get their restricted licence.
 
The new website features include:
 
·         Online videos showing how to do key driving skills
·         Useful driving tips from professional driving instructors
·         At-a-glance progress chart
·         Opportunity to win stuff!
 
If you sign-up online by Monday 14 December (at the latest) you will receive your Practice driving guide in time for the holidays. The Practice driving guide helps identify what things to teach young drivers and explains each skill.
 
ACC injury prevention programme team leader Simon Gianotti said while 15-19 year olds only account for 7% of licensed drivers, they are involved in 16% of injury crashes and 13% of fatal crashes. 
 
“In 2008-09 motor vehicle crashes involving young drivers and their passengers cost over $52 million dollars in ACC claims out of a total estimated social cost of $1.1 billion for young driver crashes.  But research indicates that a learner driver with 120 hours of supervised driving practice under their belt is 40% less likely to have a crash when they start driving alone.
 
“120 hours may seem a lot but over a year it works out at just over two hours a week, so it’s a small sacrifice to reduce the chances of your son or daughter being involved in a crash”.
 
Every learner driver who signs up for Practice is automatically entered into a monthly prize draw to win one of twenty $20 fuel vouchers. But that’s not their only chance to win. There are 20 more vouchers on offer from selected retailers once the learner has logged 40 hours and 80 hours. Also, when they complete the entire 120 hours, they will be entered in the prize draw to win $200 of vouchers from www.giftstation.co.nz(external link).
 
 
END
For more information please contact:

Andy Knackstedt
NZTA Media Manager
T 64 4 894 6285 
M  0212 763 222  
andrew.knackstedt@nzta.govt.nz

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