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Thread: Teen driver crackdown on way

  1. #1
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    Thumbs up Teen driver crackdown on way

    Teen driver crackdown on way
    By CATHERINE WOULFE - Sunday Star Times
    Last updated 05:00 09/08/2009

    The Government is set to toughen up on driver licensing and learner drivers as part of a 10-year strategy to make New Zealanders safer on the roads, according to the Automobile Association (AA).

    The Ministry of Transport is due to release a draft strategy document and, although officials would not confirm details, AA spokesman Mike Noon said it would "certainly canvass" several issues:

    Extending the length of time drivers have to spend on their learner licences, perhaps doubling it from six months to 12.

    Raising the minimum driving age.

    Allowing drivers to sit a defensive driving course while on their learner licence.

    Noon said the AA had spent three years working with the ministry to make young drivers safer particularly in the "extremely high risk" six months after they started driving alone. He said the AA had lobbied hard for change to our "pretty risky" driver training system.

    The central issue, Noon said, was that young people were not getting professional lessons and were not spending enough time driving under supervision before going solo.

    "When they first drive on their own, young men are seven times more likely to crash and young women are six times more likely to crash."

    Ministry statistics show that, last year, teenage drivers on restricted licences caused 146 crashes in which at least one person was killed or seriously injured.

    At the moment, 15-year-olds can drive under supervision if they pass a multi-choice theory test. Six months later they can drive alone during the day and with no passengers if they pass a 30-minute practical test. After 18 months on this restricted licence they can sit an hour-long practical test to earn a full licence.

    Most New Zealanders are taught to drive by their parents as it is not compulsory to have professional lessons, which cost around $50 per hour. Noon said most drivers practise for about 20 hours before driving alone well short of the 120 hours that international research showed should be the benchmark.

    Noon said this is "really light" training compared to other schemes, such as that in the United Kingdom, where drivers need an average of 45 hours of professional lessons to pass the practical test. The Australian government is this year rolling out a scheme where it will pay for one lesson for every new driver. Noon said the AA would continue lobbying for a similar system here.

    The AA also wanted our restricted licence tests made tougher. Concerns over the quality of New Zealand's driver testing were raised in 2006, when testing officers told media they had come under pressure from their employer, New Zealand Driver Licensing (NZDL), to pass three out of four drivers regardless of merit. NZDL and officials played down the concerns, saying the pass rate was a "guideline" that reassured drivers the tests were fair and consistent.

    Last week, Peter Sheppard, a safe driving specialist and chief executive officer of the New Zealand Institute of Driver Educators, said many testing officers did not have an adequate understanding of safe driving. "I'd challenge anyone on that... Some of the training and preparation of testing officers needs to be addressed."

    Sheppard also warned parents not to be too confident about their driving skills or their ability to teach their children. He said driving instructors would teach finer skills such as risk management and hazard identification. But parents generally could not.

    But Sheppard said it was vital for parents to get teenagers behind the wheel at every opportunity. "It should be, if you're going down to the dairy: `Come on, you're driving'." Letting a teenager drive alone without this kind of practice and professional lessons was "like signing their death warrant".

    Noon said parents should also make teenagers turn their cellphones off while driving and stick to the conditions on their restricted licence. They should check the car's tyres and brakes and, "if you can afford it, get a car which has got an airbag". If a new driver broke the rules, Noon said, parents should deny them the use of the car.

    The Transport Ministry would not comment on its new strategy but said in a statement that the safety of young drivers would likely be a priority. The strategy will look at everything from the condition of our roads to the way we enforce the road rules. The draft version will be released later this month, along with a call for submissions, before the final version is released in December.

    Police would not comment on the strategy but Superintendent Paula Rose, national manager, road policing, said "police are supportive of any initiative which improves the skills and support for young drivers".

    On Friday, statistics showed 252 people have died on our roads this year, up from 226 at the same time last year.

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  2. #2
    Lonely is offline Junior Member
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    Default Driving

    Could not agree more I have found the driving in NZ Shocking, Half the time people think they are the only ones on the roads. Nearly every day you read or hear about deaths on roads and more often than not speed is the factor.

    I also think that the road signs are misleading from my experiance I had been in the country for 4 weeks and got a speeding ticket for doing 61K in a 50 area, which I really did belive was a 60K area I was gutted as never had a ticket in all my years of driving. Paid my $80

    Also I class myself as a considerate driver and thank people when they let me go but others just have not got the time in to much of a hurry.

    I was driving in a 100k arear once and pulled over to the edge because someone was tailgating me felt really unsafe and scared so i did the decent thing then what happend they stuck fingers out the window at me.

    I really feel 15 is to young as kids are still babies then in my mind and they have no fear just MHO. So what do others think.

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    Farmers reject push for lift in driving age
    Updated 1:15PM Tuesday Aug 18, 2009
    By Edward Gay

    Raising the national driving age to 17 would have an adverse effect on rural families, says a farmers lobby group opposed to the move.

    High country farmer and Federated Farmers transport spokesman, Donald Aubrey said kids growing up on farms are exposed to vehicles from an early age. Given the shortage of public transport in the provinces, lifting the driving age would have a detrimental effect.

    "It often starts off on four-wheel drive motorbikes, shutting gates for Dad," Mr Aubrey said.

    He said changing the age of drivers will not necessary help the accident rate because it is about skills, not age.

    "I recognise that there is an aspect to do with human development when a person is mature enough and physically responsible enough to cater for these changes, so you can't have an age so low that a person's development does not meet the skill set required," Mr Aubrey said.

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    No alcohol among raft of ideas to hit road toll
    Page 1 of 2 ..... 4:00AM Wednesday Aug 19, 2009
    By Mathew Dearnaley

    Lower blood-alcohol limits and a higher driving age are among more than 60 ideas the Government is asking the public to rank in a desperate bid to reduce road deaths and injuries.

    A zero alcohol tolerance is suggested for drivers aged under 20 and for repeat drink-driving offenders, as is doubling the learner licence period to 12 months, and encouraging youngsters to receive 120 hours of supervised driving practice before being allowed to go solo on restricted licences.

    A prospect of confiscating vehicles used by youngsters breaching graduated licensing rules more than once in three months, such as by carrying passengers or driving at night, has also been raised.

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    Mother Bear

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