Bring back licence testing, says Cambridge

Full driver licence testing was offered in Cambridge out of the AA outlet on Victoria Street up until the beginning of 2012.

Cambridge officials want to bring practical driving tests back to Cambridge.

At last Thursday’s full Council meeting, members of the Cambridge Community Board asked Waipa District councillors to approach the NZTA and lobby to get the situation changed. They unanimously backed the request.

“Look, I’ve raised this issue on behalf of Cambridge a number of times already with NZTA but we seem to be getting nowhere,” Waipā mayor Jim Mylchreest said, adding that he was more than happy to take a formal approach to get something moving.

Council staff were directed to write to the NZTA and request the change, coping that correspondence to Transport Minister Hon Julie Anne Genter and Local Government Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta. Local Members of Parliament would also be approached for support.

“I suspect Cambridge is just languishing on a list somewhere along with a whole stack of other smaller centres,” Mylchreest said.

The New Zealand Transport Agency removed restricted and full driver’s licence testing from Cambridge in 2012 as part of the Government’s Safer Journeys strategy to reduce death and injury amongst young drivers. It made the testing process much more challenging and harder to pass, meaning Cambridge roads no longer met the criteria.

Learner’s licence tests can still be completed at the AA outlet on Victoria St.

“Because the new, more challenging Restricted Driver Licence test introduced in February 2012 requires more complex driving scenarios, new test routes were developed,” NZTA’s Acting Director of Regional Relationships, Ross I’Anson said.

“The strengthened test requires test sites with multiple lanes and a minimum level of traffic to achieve the level of challenge required.

“This means testing is not be able to be held in some centres, like Cambridge, that do not offer the necessary variety of traffic situations or levels of traffic required by the new restricted test.

I’Anson said if roading conditions – i.e. layout and traffic flows – meet the requirements for a test route, and depending on expected volumes of demand, the Agency would consider reintroducing driver licence testing in Cambridge.

At the time of going to print the NZTA had not responded to define exactly what those layout and traffic flow requirements were.

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