Increasing safety on the roads and decreasing the road toll is an ongoing problem for New Zealand government.
A Bill has been passed titled the Land Transport (Road Safety and other Matters) Amendment Bill. The aim of the Bill is to crack down on problem drivers and young drivers who pose a high risk to society.
There is no question that repeat offenders need to be given a serious warning when they re-offend – one in three road deaths in New Zealand are caused by repeat offenders. In addition, by making regulations tougher on teenagers, particularly those on their restricted licences, hopefully we will have safer drivers on our roads and less serious accidents.
The first major change under the Bill was brought in on 1 August 2011 – an increase in the minimum driving age from 15 to 16 years old. Although this has no doubt frustrated young teenagers throughout the country, the fact is that statistics have shown that these people are a high risk.
On 8 August 2011 the second major change affecting teenagers was brought in – a zero alcohol level tolerance for drivers under 20.
Additional changes still to be implemented:
- Increasing the standard of the restricted licence test.
- Subjecting those who repeatedly offend to a zero blood alcohol concentration for three years after receiving their licence back.
- Allowing courts the option to require repeat or serious drink drive offenders to use alcohol interlocks on steering wheels, which requires the driver to breathe into a device before the car’s ignition starts.
- Increasing the maximum sentence for dangerous driving causing death from five years to ten years in prison.
All changes are expected to have been brought in by the middle of 2012.