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Changes to older driver licensing system released

13 January 2006

Changes to older driver licensing system released for comment

Details of planned changes to the licensing system for older drivers announced by Government last year are now available for public comment.

The amendments to the Driver Licensing Rule include removing the current requirement for all older drivers to pass an on-road test at age 80 and every two years thereafter. Current medical checks required at age 75, 80 and every two subsequent years would remain in place. The on-road test would be retained as an option, with General Practitioners (GPs) able to refer older drivers for a practical test where there are concerns about the person’s ability to drive safely.

The changes would be accompanied by a nationwide expansion of the popular Safe With Age classroom-based road safety course for older drivers, a 50 per cent subsidy for a private on-road driving lesson for Safe With Age graduates (from July 2007), and targeted educational material for GPs, older drivers, their families and communities.

Until the changes come into effect in December 2006 it is important that older drivers continue to renew their licences by obtaining the necessary medical certificates and sitting the on-road driving test. Driving without a valid licence could result in heavy fines and/or the loss of insurance coverage.

About 95 per cent of older drivers currently pass the older driver test, and just two percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes are aged 80 or older. There are currently 54,800 licensed drivers aged 80 or older.

For further information on the amendments, including submission forms, Q&A’s and copies of the rule, ring 0800 422 822 or visit www.landtransport.govt.nz. Submissions close on 28 February 2006.

ENDS

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