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Getting young Hawke’s Bay drivers on the road

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is championing an initiative to make it easier for young Hawke’s Bay people to gain a driver’s licence.

HBRC Chairman Fenton Wilson says research shows learner drivers in Central Hawke’s Bay and Wairoa have to travel significant distances to sit their driver tests. It also shows many young Hawke’s Bay drivers don’t progress beyond learner or restricted licences.

He says HBRC is looking to secure funding from local councils and the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) to fund a community programme to assist young people to get their learner licence and progress on to a full licence.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Transport Committee Chairman Alan Dick says this has been on the committee’s agenda for some time now.

“The difficulty in obtaining a driver’s licence is an ongoing issue, especially for young people in rural and lower socio-economic communities,” says Councillor Dick.

“Many young people often have to travel long distances to sit their driver tests and that’s a real barrier for them.”

The Committee’s Deputy Chairman Rick Barker says not getting a full driver’s licence is preventing many young people from getting a decent job.

“There is a large need for young truck and heavy vehicle drivers out there and these young people don’t have a chance of getting into a job like that without first getting their full driver’s licence,” says Councillor Barker.

Fenton Wilson says the council intends to discuss the initiative with other local councils and NZTA, but is confident there is support to fund the initiative.

“This is an important issue for the entire region and we need to find a solution.”

18 April 2016

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