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Young drivers gain road safety skills

A group attending a Travel Safe Young Driver workshop. Supplied photo.

More than 100 young people will sign up this year to a free workshop to become more skilled and knowledgeable while driving on Tauranga's roads.

Young driver workshops, which were first offered as a pilot programme to encourage safe driver behaviour on local roads, started in April 2015.

The workshops are aimed at most vulnerable road users, aged between 16 and 24, and who hold a current learner or restricted driver licence.

Introduced by the Travel Safe team, who cover the western Bay of Plenty region, the workshops were developed based on community feedback.

Statistics today reveal drivers on a restricted license are seven times more likely to be involved in a fatal or serious injury crash.
Run over a half-day, participants are guided by industry professionals to grow their current skill base, knowledge and confidence.

Sheree Ellis, Travel Safe Coordinator at Tauranga City Council, is thrilled to have the ongoing support of partners and volunteers who are passionate, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Young Driver workshops.

“We couldn’t offer these workshops without the generosity of New Zealand Police, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, driving instructors, and TD Haulage who kindly donate their time and expertise in a workshop that has a good balance of theory and practical activities.

“The heavy transport component of the workshops couldn’t happen without the ongoing generosity of local businesses such as TD Haulage, Walling Enterprises and the TR Group Truck and Trailer Rentals who provide us with the heavy vehicles used as a visual and a demonstrative aid.”

Heavy Transport Coordinator for the Travel Safe workshops, Jason McComb, has been involved with the workshops for two years and is a passionate advocate for promoting driver safety.

“The reason I'm doing this is to promote safety for my fellow drivers and companies I worked for in the past and to try and stop the negative attitude towards trucks on New Zealand roads. If by making young drivers more aware of the dangers around these vehicles and if it could save even one life that's a win.

“We all have to change the way we drive to help protect everyone on our roads. Trucks carry our country so we need to give them the respect they deserve as they will help look after other motorists if you give them the chance.”

Workshops cover:

  •   •  staying safe around heavy motor vehicles practical session

  •   •  TWIRL safe and road worthy vehicle checks practical session with Waka Kotahi NZTA

  •   •  focus 5 – speed, impairment, restraints, distraction and fatigue awareness with NZ Police

  •   •  80-minute professional driving lesson with a Waka Kotahi NZTA qualified instructor.

Workshops are held each school holidays and numbers are limited.

To find out more about upcoming class dates and times follow the Travel Safe Facebook page or go online to find out more about Young Driver workshops.

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