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LTSA to stragglers - get licence or resit tests

LTSA online
Today marks the one-year anniversary of the introduction of photo driver licences, and the Land Transport Safety Authority is encouraging stragglers from last year to upgrade to the new licence before they have to resit their theory and practical tests.

Just 60 days remain before the last of the paper licences expire.* Anyone with a licence that has been expired for more than a year will need to resit full theory and practical driver tests to obtain a valid photo driver licence.

The Director of Land Transport Safety, Reg Barrett, said that the LTSA was extremely pleased that nearly 2.1 million New Zealanders had already been issued with photo driver licences. The final number was expected to be around 2.4 million at the end of the upgrade period on 2 July.

“The changeover to photo driver licences, though still in progress, has been a major accomplishment.”

The LTSA is now issuing a warning to motorists who had a birthday from 3 May last year and who haven’t upgraded that they could face re-sitting a full licence test if they delay upgrading much longer. The practical and theory tests will cost around $100, depending on the driver’s age and type of licence.

Drivers who had a birthday on 3 May last year only have until 2 July this year to upgrade without having to resit theory and practical tests to obtain a licence.

“My advice to drivers is to save themselves the inconvenience and the cost by upgrading to a photo driver licence at a driver licensing agent now,” said Mr Barrett.

If you are caught driving with an invalid or expired licence, you will be fined $400. You will also have your vehicle impounded if you continue to drive after being forbidden to do so.

Radio advertising is beginning today to remind motorists of the need to upgrade if they want to avoid having to re-sit their tests. This is being supplemented by reminder notices distributed via service stations throughout the country.

Mr Barrett emphasised the road safety benefits that had been gained through photo driver licences and other enforcement measures introduced a year ago.
“In 1998, 50 people were killed in crashes by unlicensed and disqualified drivers who shouldn’t have been driving in the first place. Since the introduction of photo driver licences and compulsory licence carriage, Police have reported a 27.5 per cent drop in the number of tickets issued for driving while disqualified. Police have also impounded more than 12,300 vehicles at the roadside from repeat offenders.

“These figures indicate that the combination of photo driver licences, roadside licence suspension and roadside vehicle impoundment are both deterring and removing serious traffic offenders from our roads,” Mr Barrett said.

Mr Barrett also noted that eyesight screening checks undertaken when applying for a photo driver licence had led to more than 26,000 people getting corrective lenses. “I feel a lot more secure on the road knowing these drivers can now see well enough to drive safely after eyesight problems picked up by the screening check have been corrected,” he said.

*Drivers had 60 days to upgrade to a new photo driver licence from a birthday which fell into the upgrade period (3 May 1999 to 2 May 2000). The exception to this is New Zealand licence holders returning from overseas or being released from prison or hospital. These people have 90 days to upgrade from their date of return or release.

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