Teen spared fine under new police initiative

MYLES HUME
Last updated 15:00 22/07/2014
Josh McLintock
IAIN MCGREGOR/FAIRFAX NZ

CAUGHT OUT: Acting Sergeant Tim Bird speaks to learner driver Josh McLintock, 19, about breaching his driver licence conditions. He will have his fine and demerit points waived if he attends a driver safety seminar as part of a new police operation for teenage drivers.

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Learner driver Josh McLintock was only helping out a mate when he was nabbed by police for breaking two conditions of his licence.

The 19-year-old, who recently lost his job, thought he was going to receive a hefty fine and demerit points while heading to a stranded friend's rescue at a nearby address.

But it was McLintock's lucky day as Canterbury police this week launched Operation Uniform 2, which waives infringement notices for 16 to 19-year-old drivers caught breaking the rules of their learner and restricted licences - if they attend a driver safety seminar.

''I'll be going, it's better than getting a fine for hundreds of dollars,'' McLintock said, while pulled on to the shoulder of Marshland Rd, Shirley, in his Toyota Curren.

The teenager has had his learner licence for nine months, and says he would pass a restricted test but money has been his biggest barrier.

He claims he is skilled enough to drive with unauthorised passengers, without learner plates and posed no danger to other motorists or pedestrians.

It is drivers like McLintock that Acting Sergeant Tim Bird, of Canterbury road policing, believes would benefit from attending one of two seminars at the end of August to alert them to the dangers of their behaviour.

The police team have focusing on young drivers around St Bedes College, Papanui and Shirley since the operation launched, so far nabbing 10 to 15 teens for breaching licence conditions.

More than 6000 young drivers were busted for breaking their conditions in Canterbury last year.

''For someone like him [McLintock] he would benefit from the seminar, it might help speed him up towards his full licence,'' Bird said.

''He hasn't gone through testing for a full licence . . . he may think he has got the skills to handle conditions but he hasn't really been tested.''

The seminar, of which two will be held at the end of August, will feature presentations on speeding up the process to acquire a full licence, issues around insurance if involved in a crash while breaching licence conditions, crash consequences and the role of peer pressure.

However, those previously issued compliance notices will not eligible for the reprieve, and likewise for repeat offenders.

The operation will continue through weekends and out of school hours until August 15.

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- The Press

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