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A non political design for our economic future

2 August 2005

A non political design for our economic future

Advance NZ calls for commonsense debate over road safety.

The reaction by politicians to the outcry over the tragic accident involving the death of 4 teens in Hastings is predictable and unfortunately will not contribute to a viable long-term solution.

What is needed is a concept of driver education encompassing extensive knowledge of the rules of the road through to a comprehensive practical training program and appropriate legislation and resourcing which enables effective policing of the driving environment.

Speed is obviously a major factor in the initiation/outcome of an accident but there are many other factors, including the attitude, experience and skill set of the driver when confronted with a potential accident, that contribute to its severity.

When an incident happens, where there is little time to react, instinctive reaction takes effect and whether the right choice is made is entirely dependent on the level of knowledge and experience of the people involved. It would be a brave or stupid person who claimed that a teen in such a situation would normally fare better than a person who has some years experience behind the wheel.

A key element to improving driver safety is education and that needs to start with pre-schooler awareness of what the basic rules are on the footpath. That needs to be continued through the bicycle stage and integrated into the run up to gaining a vehicle licence.

There is also a need for regional driving schools where a proper facility is provided to give (compulsory) practical vehicle handling skills - not only for teens but for those who are charged with breaching the rules of the road. The facts reveal that when a teen gets behind the wheel of a car the attitude and aptitude developed to that date accompanies him/her and if they are found wanting potentially fatal outcomes are inevitable.

In regard to modified/non-standard cars there are steps which could be taken now. Any modified vehicle would be required to be registered as such and an age and/or experience limit placed on any driver of a modified vehicle.
Any modified vehicle would be required to have comprehensive insurance as a condition of registration.

Any driver of a modified/non-standard vehicle would need an endorsement on his/her licence indicating an approved course of driver instruction had been taken and passed.

This matter has been a political football for far too long - the facts are well researched and the solutions obvious to those who want to see them.


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