6 New Drivers Get Their 'P' Plates This Year Through Community Supported Program
Thursday, 27 August, 2020 - 13:45
While COVID-19 restrictions have meant disruption to our lives, a program that has been supporting Mansfield Shire’s young people for more than 10 years has continued, albeit in a reduced capacity.
Mansfield Mayor, Cr Marg Attley OAM said the L2P driver mentor program which supports young people to move from their Learner driving permit to their Probationary licence had just two Learners get their Ps from January to July and another four Learners gain their licence since July.
“That’s six young people able to drive. We know how important that is for independence when you live in country Victoria. I congratulate them on getting their 120 hours of driving time and passing their tests during this time,” Cr Attley said.
“The L2P program is one of those that brings the community together. Some of the volunteers, who undertake training to become driving mentors, have been with us for 10 years. We thank them for their commitment. On average we have 11 mentors to support up to 15 learner drivers. It’s a significant contribution driving regularly with a young person,” she said.
“And the program is supported by our business community. Martins Garage loan the program a car, Rotary has made financial donations and members are mentors, Mansfield Signs and in the past Bendigo Bank have contributed.
“Much of the credit for the program’s achievements during COVID-19 restrictions needs to be given to Gerry Vanderhorst from Gerry’s All Terrain Driving school. Gerry has been able to continue to support the learners with professional lessons when volunteer mentors were unable to drive in the cars, due to restrictions.”
The L2P Program is funded by the Transport Accident Commission and coordinated locally by Mansfield Shire Council.
It aims to assist eligible young Learners who may not have access to a supervising driver or vehicle of their own. The L2P program is free for Learner drivers under 21 years of age and helps them to gain the 120 hours driving experience required to apply for a probationary licence, and to be safer road users.
Mansfield Shire Council is contracted to have 15 learners on the road each quarter. Last year the program exceeded Council’s funding requirement, with an average of 17 young people taking part each quarter.
“Unfortunately, COVID-19 has impacted the program as we have needed to close twice during each lockdown. This means that the number of learners that we have been able to assist has dropped to five.
“The mentors and learners are keen to be able to return to driving together, when it is safe to do so.”