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School’s Over But Practice Still Makes Perfect

December 01 2008

School’s Over But Practice Still Makes Perfect

High school might be finished for the year but there’s still plenty of learning to be done – particularly if you’re getting behind the wheel of a car for the first time.

That’s why ACC is reminding parents and teenagers who are going for their driver licence that summer is a great time to put in some extra ‘Practice’ with the help of a free learn-to-drive plan.

ACC and the New Zealand Transport Authority developed the ‘Practice’ programme for 15 to 19 year olds who already have their learner licence. It’s designed to help them become safer and more competent – in short, to make them less likely to crash.

ACC injury prevention programme manager David Peirce said that, sadly, New Zealand’s 15 – 19 year olds stand high in crash statistics. “They’re around seven times more likely to be involved in crashes than 45-49 year olds,” he said.

“But research indicates that a learner driver with 120 hours supervised driving practice under their belt is 30% less likely to have a crash when they start driving alone. As a parent, 120 hours may sound like a lot, but that’s only two hours a week for a year. That’s nothing at all when it could save a young life.”

An information pack about ‘Practice’ is sent out as soon as a young person gets their learner licence. If they sign up, a step-by-step guide arrives that will help them become better drivers. ‘Practice’ also provides their coaches (usually parents and family friends) the tools to teach them well and encourage them to improve their skills.

“Teaching someone to drive can be hard and often even experienced drivers need a refresher on the correct way to do things. That’s why ‘Practice’ breaks down key manoeuvres so they can be easily explained and understood,” Mr Peirce said.

“While 120 hours supervised driving can easily be completed if parents let their teenagers drive to the shops and back regularly, it’s important they get experience driving in all conditions. That means driving at night, in the wet and on the motorway. Learning skills such as emergency braking and overtaking safely can be invaluable,” he said.

“And, of course, all the driving should make getting their restricted licence a breeze, which is yet another bonus!”

To find out more about ‘Practice’ – and even sign up! – go to


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