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Driving rules to change


Transport Minister Steven Joyce has released a new 10-year strategy designed to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads

The strategy – Safer Journeys – will look at the safety of roads, road users, vehicles and speed.

The top priorities for action in the strategy are:

  • Young drivers
  • Alcohol and drug impaired drivers
  • Motorcycling
  • Roads and roadsides
  • Safer speeds

Over the coming months, the Minister will take a series of action plans to Cabinet to confirm and detail policy changes. The first two of these will cover young drivers (in March) and drink driving (April).

"A disproportionate number of young New Zealanders die on our roads – young Kiwis have a 60% higher fatality rate on the roads than young Australians.”

Young drivers make up 14.5% of New Zealand's population and 16% of all licensed drivers, but in 2008 they were involved in around 38% of all serious injury crashes.

And between 2000 and 2008 the number of people killed or seriously injured in a crash where a young driver was at fault has increased by about 17%.

The actions in the March package include:

  • Raising the driving age to 16
  • Tightening up the restricted licence test to encourage novice drivers do around 120 hours of supervised practice, before driving solo
  • Improving the road safety education available to young people and increasing access to it
  • Investigating vehicle power restrictions for young drivers.

A second package, focused on the impact of alcohol on our roads, will be discussed by Cabinet next month. This will include a plan to reduce the youth blood alcohol limit to zero.

In April the Minister will take to Cabinet a package of measures designed to combat drink driving, particularly repeat offending.

Actions in the April package are:

  • Compulsory alcohol interlocks and a zero drink drive limit for recidivist drink drivers
  • A zero drink drive limit for drivers under 20
  • Review the traffic offences and penalties for repeat offenders and drink driving causing death and serious injury

Either lowering the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) from BAC 0.08 to 0.05, or conducting New Zealand specific research on the level of risk posed by drivers with a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08.

Legislation will be in place by the end of 2010.

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