The AA is urging parents and teenagers to make use of a new website recently launched, created to help young people learn to drive
The www.safeteendriver.co.nz website provides a wealth of resources for parents and caregivers of teens on their learner or restricted licence, with links to resources created to help young people learning to drive.
“Road crashes are the biggest killer of 15- to 19-year-old New Zealanders and for far too long we have not taken the training of young drivers seriously enough,” says AA Motoring Affairs General Manager Mike Noon.
“As the ads for the website show, many of us have been guilty of considering our job done as parents once our child gains their restricted licence.
“The reality is the next six months are the most dangerous time of their driving life and this is actually a period where parents staying involved could have a life-saving impact.
“We know that the more supervised practice a driver has (especially in the learner phase) the less likely they are to be involved in a crash and this website can help achieve that.”
One aspect of the Safeteendriver website that particularly pleases the AA is it focuses beyond the mere practical skills of controlling a car, which is only one part of becoming a good driver.
“Teaching teens to drive doesn’t just involve practical skills. They also need to understand the mental skills and maturity required to be a safe driver. Things such as assessing yourself, reading the road environment, resisting peer pressure, managing distractions and planning ahead are all vital skills for safe driving,” says NZTA National Manager of Road User Behaviour Michael Cummins.
The AA encourages parents and young drivers (whatever stage they’re at) to make good use of the website and also offers the following advice:
- Learners should complete 120 hours of supervised driving before attempting to gain their restricted licence and becoming able to drive solo
- Parents should ensure their children are driving the safest vehicle possible. We have a bad tradition of our most at-risk drivers driving cheap, older vehicles that do not have the modern safety features which can prevent or minimise the consequences of a crash.
- Parents need to ensure their children stick to the rules of their learner or restricted licence. Research has shown low parental monitoring and control can be related to risky driving behaviours, traffic violations and crashes.
- Invest in professional driving lessons if possible.
More information for parents of young drivers can also be found at www.aa.co.nz/going-solo