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2000 Vehicles Impounded Under Tough New Laws

July 8 1999

IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hon Maurice Williamson

Minister of Transport

About 2000 vehicles have been impounded by Police since the new driver licensing regime took effect on May 3, Transport Minister Maurice Williamson announced today.

"Preliminary figures show that 1034 vehicles were taken off the road in June, adding to the figure of just under 1000 during May.

"I welcome these figures as the whole aim of the new driver licensing system was to create a safer environment for law abiding drivers and get these serious traffic offenders off the roads," said Mr Williamson.

In 1997, disqualified and unlicensed drivers caused 10 percent of deaths on our roads and nine percent of serious injury crashes.

"This shows that we must do all we can to get these offenders off the roads and impounding their cars is the most productive way of achieving this.

"Police have indicated that they anticipated a higher number of offences warranting impoundment based on previous years. So the new laws are working either by removing the opportunity for these drivers to get behind a wheel, deterring them, or a combination of these.

"We've sent a clear message to serious repeat traffic offenders that their dangerous and anti-social driving is not acceptable and will no longer be tolerated."

Mr Williamson said that after a few teething problems and a need to modify a few aspects of the new driver licensing regime, the system was now working well and achieving positive results.

ENDS

The 28 day vehicle impoundment applies to those drivers who drive:

* while disqualified

* while their licence is suspended under demerit points

* while their licence is suspended by police for 28 days

* while their licence is revoked (eg, on medical grounds)

* without a licence after being forbidden to drive until they get a licence

* while unlicensed and after being forbidden until licence renewed

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