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Rule changes to improve young driver safety welcomed

6 August 2014

Transport Agency welcomes rule changes to improve young driver safety

The NZ Transport Agency is welcoming today’s confirmation of changes to New Zealand’s Graduated Driver Licensing System aimed at improving the safety of novice drivers and motorcyclists.

The changes to the Land Transport (Driver Licensing) Rule announced this morning by Associate Minister of Transport Hon. Michael Woodhouse will for the first time set a time limit on new learner and restricted car and motorcycling licences to encourage drivers and riders to progress to the next licence stage within five years.

Drivers or riders who don’t move on to the next stage within five years will need to pass another theory test to renew their learner or restricted licence after it expires.

The new rules will come into force from 1 December 2014.

Transport Agency Road Safety Director Ernst Zollner said the introduction of a time limit for each of the learner and restricted licence stages will encourage novice drivers and motorcyclists to progress to a full licence within a reasonable timeframe.

“The purpose of the Graduated Driver Licensing System is for novice drivers and riders to progress from a learner to a full licence by gradually gaining the skills and experience needed to drive safely – and to demonstrate that they have gained those skills by passing practical driving tests on the way to gaining a full licence.

“The restrictions that apply to learner and restricted licences are there to ensure that novice drivers gain experience and skills under low-risk conditions. Drivers who stay at one licence stage indefinitely aren’t demonstrating that they’ve gained the skills and competence to drive safely, and many offences for breaching licence conditions are committed by drivers who have held a learner or restricted licence for an extended time.”

Mr Zollner said the changes will work together with other measures introduced over recent years to improve the safety of novice drivers, including raising the minimum licensing age from 15 to 16, the introduction of a zero alcohol limit for teen drivers and the rollout of more challenging practical driver tests to gain restricted and full licences.

Other changes to the Driver Licensing Rule include strengthening the ‘evidence of identity’ requirements for licence applications, and allowing driver licensing and driver testing transactions to be completed via a wider range of channels such as online or at kiosks.

The Transport Agency carried out public consultation on the Rule changes, which ran for six weeks in April/May this year.

Further information can be found at www.transport.govt.nz/land/timelicences

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