Licence costs driving us round the bend

Student Soapbox

HAYLEY ELLIOTT-KERNOT
Last updated 07:11 21/05/2013
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Is it now too tough for young people to get a licence?

Yes, and it's more about the money-grab.

No, it has to be tough to make streets safer.

Don't care either way.

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OPINION: I am a teenager and I don't have a licence! How many others have I heard say the same thing?

It seems everywhere I go the subject of getting your licence will come up. "I need to get it; I'm nervous and I think I will fail; why will I even try, I'll just fail; I failed!"

Most conversations have something to do with failing your licence and sadly I know of no-one who has gone for their restricted in the last six months who has passed the first time. Some are even on their third try and still failing.

Yes, I understand why it has become harder to get: New Zealand has one of the highest teenage crash rates in the developed world. The roads are safer and there are fewer youths tearing around in beat-up cars putting everyone's safety at risk.

What I don't understand is why it is still so expensive. It is over $100 to have the application and take the test first time and over $80 if you have to re-sit. The number of youth failing their restricted licence has increased dramatically but how, may I ask, do they pay for the resit or even the first test?

It's barbaric. They have turned something that is such a necessity in people's lives into a complete money-making scheme aimed mostly at young people who don't have the money to pay.

This is my situation. I have a job and earn around $50 a week. I can't work more because I am having to study and keep my grades up so I can get into the university I want to enter. I bike to and from school which takes a good 20 minutes each way and then bike to work at night which is another 15 minutes each way. I need to buy my clothes, save for university, get money for my phone, get various school things, occasionally buy my own food and pay for anything I want to do outside of school with my friends. I put at least $20 a week aside for university; that's six weeks of university savings towards a licence that most people don't pass.

One hundred dollars is a lot in a student's life. Forget about that laptop, camera or cellphone we wanted; no, we have to pay for our licence. What about families that are very poor, how do they do it? Or do they just put it off so they don't have to pay?

Increasing the failing rate and not decreasing the ridiculous price is unfair. Using this as a money- making scheme is greedy.

Do you think that keeping the ridiculous price is going to stop dangerous youth driving? That's what making the test harder is about, isn't it? It's a hindrance and burden to the rest of us.

Many youth I talk to say they're not going for their licence because it's too expensive and now even more so as the test has become harder. When students leave school they need their licence to make life easier, so why are we putting this barrier in their way?

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I did a random survey with 20 students at New Plymouth Girls' High School who are over 16.

75 per cent had gone for at least one of their licences and of those 50 per cent failed at least one of them.

100 per cent said the price was too high.

65 per cent said they would go for their licence sooner if it was cheaper.

45 per cent said the price was stopping them from taking their licence.

90 per cent thought it was a money making scheme.

80 per cent thought it was unfair that the price was still so high when so many young people were failing.

And only 45 per cent said they were in a position where they could easily pay for the cost of taking their licence.

Recent statistics show that the pass rate for taking your restricted licence in the old system was 80 per cent, now the pass rate is only 43 per cent.

Yes, we need to keep the roads and our young people safe, but do we need to make the prices so high? Is it necessary?

- Taranaki Daily News

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