Teens put off getting licence

Some 'just driving anyway'

ANNA WILLIAMS
Last updated 07:07 12/03/2014
Johnny Andrews
Emma Allen

Not ready yet: Marlborough Boys’ College pupils Johnny Andrews, left, Logan Silcock, and Kerry Clapham say more young people in Marlborough are choosing not to get behind the wheel.

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More Marlborough teenagers are choosing not to get a driving licence because it's too expensive, too hard, or they just haven't got around to it.

Figures from the New Zealand Transport Agency show the number of licensed drivers aged 15 to 19 who live in Marlborough had dropped by almost 40 per cent.

In 2008, 2297 people aged between 15 and 19 held a licence. As of December last year, 1394 people aged between 16 and 19 held one.

Marlborough Boys' College deputy principal Michael Heath said more students were flouting the rules after the age limit for the learner's licence was raised from 15 to 16 in 2011.

"We're aware of some boys who don't take the ‘can't carry passenger on a restricted licence' very seriously," Mr Heath said.

"Some boys are getting frustrated and just driving anyway."

Results from a college survey last year on driver licenses showed students cited laziness, cost, and not knowing how to start as the main reasons for not having a licence.

The harder testing system also meant a lot of students didn't pass the first time, Mr Heath said.

"A lot of the boys say they won't bother because it's too hard," he said.

The college was working with the Marlborough District Council to reduce the number of unlicensed drivers on the road by running courses to educate students on driver and passenger safety, he said.

Year 13 student Logan Silcock failed his restricted licence test last week because he didn't look over his shoulder when he was switching lanes.

"I felt pretty bad because he [the tester] told me my driving was really good, almost perfect," he said.

Most of his friends in year 13 did not have a restricted licence, he said.

"They just find ways around it. They either walk, bike, skateboard or just get their parents to take them."

Year 13 student Kerry Clapham has his learner licence and buses to school. The 17-year-old knows a few people who have failed the test.

"That's made me think about it more. I want to have the skills before I try so I can pass the first time."

A Marlborough police spokeswoman said fewer young people had been caught driving without a licence in the past five years.

In 2013, 36 offence notices were issued to people aged 15 to 19 for driving without a licence, compared with 53 in 2009.

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- The Marlborough Express

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