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Partnerships give new look to Driver Directions
2 June 2018
Partnerships give new look to Driver Directions
The fate of Rotorua’s Driver Directions course has been saved by the support of a group of local organisations.
 
Rotorua Rotary, Off Road New Zealand, Rotorua Kartsport Development Trust, Rotorua Police department and Rotorua Ford and Mazda, among others, have all partnered with Rotorua Lakes Council to help deliver a local course which otherwise would have been lost after losing a key partner last year.
 
With their support the course now has a new look, and a new venue – the Rotorua International Kartsport Raceway at Off Road New Zealand in Mamaku.
 
Off Road New Zealand owner Ian Tew said they were happy to be able to support the Driver Directions course and help young drivers improve their awareness on the roads.
 
“Any practical and theory based training that young drivers can obtain before heading out on the public roads is a great idea.
 
“Having the Police involved and removing the stigma of a “them and us” society will have great benefits in the future. I believe that having the Police interact with young drivers in a hands-on training day is the best way to enlighten them to the dangers on our roads.
 
“The hope is that this will not only help save their lives but the lives of others also.”
 
Sam Bufton who is a Trustee for the Rotorua Kartsport Development Trust said that driver training had always been one of the reasons behind building the kart facility in Mamaku.
 
“We are delighted to host the Driver Directions programme at our facility. Driving is such an important life skill and we need leaders to improve the capabilities of drivers, especially younger drivers.  
 
“We all know it appears to be easier to learn skills at a younger age and, younger drivers have had less time available to them to develop what they need to be good drivers. The greater your driving skills the better the result for everyone, so why not get some expert help.
 
“Wouldn’t you rather be with or around, or perhaps more importantly, have your kids with or around, other drivers with that understanding?”.     
 
The new course will have the same format as the previous course in Taupo in which young drivers learn a range of skills through hands-on training. The new look course however has an added focus on safe and sustainable practices.
 
Even when the future of Driver Directions was unsure the support from Rotorua’s Rotary group was unwavering. The group worked hard to make sure the course would continue to be available to Rotorua’s young people.   
 
Rotary member Allen Foote says that after being involved in Driver Directions for some years he really sees the value in it.
 
“I have enjoyed the opportunity to encourage young drivers to develop their driving skills and want to keep that up as a contribution to road safety.
 
“This is one of the best programmes young drivers could become involved in. In past experiences some [participants] have turned up having being told by parents to attend and not very happy about it, and at the end of the day have said how much they enjoyed it.  
 
“Each participant will go away with not only better skills and more confidence but a positive attitude towards road safety and I believe these participants will become more responsible drivers on our roads.
 
The Driver Directions course has been running since 2011 and in recent times was receiving so many applicants it had to refer people to a waiting list.
 
Dates for the new courses have been set and the Safe and Sustainable Journeys team at Council are encouraging young people to sign up quick!
 
To book go to www.rotorualakescouncil.nz/driverdirections or phone 07 348 4199 for more information.