Tuesday, March 2, 2010

New legislation in New Zealand will crack down on young drivers...

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Crackdown on young drivers in New Zealand confirmed by new Government legislation...

Driving age being increased to 16, zero drink drive limit for drivers under 20, review of give way rules, more speed cameras in safety strategy

As expected, the Government has cracked down on young drivers in its road safety review released today. The new legislation is expected to be in force by the end of the year.

The 10 year strategy, designed to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on the roads over next decade, includes raising the driving age to 16, making the restricted licence test more difficult, introducing a zero drink drive limit for drivers under the age of 20 and investigating vehicle power restrictions for young people.

Efforts to reduce alcohol/drug impaired driving will include a zero drink-drive limit for offenders. Traffic offences and penalties for causing death and injury will also be reviewed.

Safety improvement programmes will focus on high risk rural roads and high risk urban intersections. Consideration will also be given to changing the give way rules for turning traffic.

Motorcyclist training and licensing will be improved and there will be a power-to-weight restriction for novice riders.

The Government plans to increase the use speed and red light cameras and increase the coverage of temporary lower speed limits around schools.

The proposed changes will come into force at the end of the year.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce says the number of people killed or seriously injured in a crash where a young driver was at fault increased by 17 percent between 2000 and 2008.

He says there have been some major gains in road safety in recent years and the road toll has more than halved since its peak in1983. He says at the same time, the kilometres travelled have more than doubled.

"But despite these gains, hundreds of New Zealanders are killed and thousands injured on our roads every year, mostly in preventable crashes. Safer Journeys is a step towards improving the safety of our roads."

However, local motoring expert, Allan dick has criticised the proposec changes as being too weak. He recommends making it harder to get a licence in the first place. He said getting a licence in Germany is like being a rocket scientist - obtaining the necessary skills to drive competently and safely. Whereas in New Zealand driving a motor vehicle is considered a "right". This attitude needs to change!

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