Road Laws Change – Driving Age Increases To 16
New Laws brings you news of a change in the law with new Transport legislation the aim of which is to improve safety on New Zealand roads by improving the safety of young drivers and cracking down on problem drivers who pose a high risk to society.
The Minister of Transport Steven Joyce heralded the new law as a vital step forward in the government’s plan to lower the road toll and improve safety on our roads.
The Land Transport (Road Safety and other Matters) Amendment Bill which includes the following provisions is expected to be fully implemented by the middle of 2012. Some highlights of the new laws include:-
- An increase in the minimum driving age from 15 to 16 on 1 August this year.
- Increasing the standard of the restricted licence test.
- Enabling the Police to take alcohol readings for the purpose of research in the case of all drivers involved in a fatal or serious injury accident where there is a blood alcohol concentration of between .05 and .08 of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood or 250 and 400 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath.
- Drivers under the age of 20 will have a zero drink drive tolerance under the new law.
- Those who repeatedly offend will have their blood alcohol concentration limit set at zero for three years after receiving their licence back.
- The courts will have the ability to require those who are serious or repeat offenders to use alcohol interlocks after a mandatory 90 day disqualification. The interlocks to be used over a twelve month period and only to be removed where the offender shows a six month violation fee period following which the three year zero BAC limit will also be imposed.
- The maximum sentence for dangerous driving causing death will raise form five to ten years in prison.
The Minister maintained that the new laws are targeted at the serious core of repeat offenders who are responsible for one in three road deaths in New Zealand.
“The Government is sending a serious warning to high-risk drivers by giving judges the power to impose a maximum sentence of ten years for dangerous driving causing death, double the previous penalty.”
“This legislation means that the courts can require repeat alcohol offenders to complete an interlock programme – this technology physically prevents them from driving their cars.
“Offenders will also be subject to a zero BAC limit licence for three years following a period of disqualification.”
“Raising the licence age from 15 to 16, and measures to enable the restricted driving test to be strengthened reflect the disproportionate number of fatal and serious crashes involving young people.”
Once the new law receives Royal Assent the driving age will increase to 16 from August 1 this year. The remainder of the new provisions will come into force over a staggered period of twelve months.
Further information on the Road Safety and Other Matters Amendment Bill is available at www.transport.govt.nz
Further information on the transitional arrangements in place for drivers aged under 16 when the driving age increases is available at www.nzta.govt.nz.
They will be allowed to continue to hold their licence and once they turn 16 will be able to apply to the NZTA for an exemption to progress to the next licensing stage provided they have held their licence for the required minimum period, and have not committed any traffic offences.
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