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1.5 million upgrade to new photo driver licences

LTSA online
The Land Transport Safety Authority has issued its 1.5 millionth photo driver licence, following the introduction of the new licensing system in May last year.

The LTSA is eight months into a 14-month licence upgrade programme and is currently on schedule to reach its target of issuing 2.4 million upgraded licences by the end of June.

Over 10,000 licences are currently being issued daily and 96 percent of licences are processed within six to 10 days of application. The 1.5 millionth driver licence upgrade was sent out in the post today.

Director of Land Transport Safety Reg Barrett says that the new photo driver licence is proving its worth in the battle to enhance road safety.

“Unlicenced and disqualified drivers killed 50 people on New Zealand roads in 1998 and regularly cause around 10 per cent of all fatal road crashes. That is unacceptable,” Mr Barrett said.

“A photo driver licence greatly increases the chances of disqualified drivers being identified and caught. Combined with tough new penalties the photo driver licence is helping to improve safety on our roads.”

Mr Barrett said it was pleasing that more and more people were coming forward enthusiastically to upgrade to the new licence.

Increased demand was evident over the university and school holiday period, with demand added to by 18 and 19-year-olds seeking an acceptable form of identification to comply with new drinking age legislation.

“It is a good endorsement of the value of the licence but young people using it to get into bars must remember their responsibility to not drink then drive.”

Mr Barrett said that high demand for the new licence has led to queues in some locations, but staff have been working hard to ensure the upgrades take place as smoothly as possible.

“Some patience may be required but the end result is a licence that is user-friendly, much more effective than before, and that can assist in helping to ensure safety on our roads.”

Figures from the Driver Licence Register show that nearly 22,000 people are now wearing corrective lenses as a result of eyesight tests required by the new licensing system. Since May 1999, an average of 5.31 percent of people undergoing an eyesight screening check as part of the licence upgrade have been referred to an optometrist or doctor for an eyesight test.

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