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New road safety campaign targets driver education

New road safety campaign targets driver education

The Transport Minister Paul Swain says almost every driver or owner of a motor vehicle in New Zealand will be encouraged to improve their knowledge of the road code as part of a new education campaign designed to improve road safety.

Mr Swain says the voluntary "Up to Scratch" education initiative is a key component of the government's Road Safety to 2010 strategy, which focuses on the "Three Es" – engineering, education and enforcement.

A major engineering package was announced in October, involving an extra $47 million over two years for Transit and local authorities to spend on accident black spots. This more than doubled the existing funding for such safety work, and is in addition to approximately $400 million of safety-related work that is intrinsic to wider construction and maintenance programmes every year. "The Up to Scratch education campaign offers incentives for drivers and vehicle owners to voluntarily take part in simple tests to refresh their driving knowledge, with the potential to win safety-related prizes donated by the private sector," says Mr Swain.

"Many of us don't give the road code a second thought once we gain our licence, and it is possible for someone who gains their full licence at the age of 17 to not refresh their driving knowledge in any way until they turn 80."

"The government is determined to make our roads a safer place, and our road safety goal is to have no more than 300 deaths and 4,500 hospitalisations a year by 2010."

"This is a big ask, with this year's road toll already tracking well above last year's which was in itself a record low."

Mr Swain has thanked the private sector sponsors for agreeing to take part in the Up to Scratch initiative, saying it's an example of the partnership approach the government wants to foster with business and community groups.

Announcements regarding the final E – enforcement – will be made in December.

More details of "Up to Scratch" can be found at

Is your driving Up to Scratch?


The Road Safety to 2010 strategy sets out road safety goals of no more than 300 road deaths and 4,500 hospitalisations a year by 2010.

On current forecasts, unless we take further action the number of road deaths by 2010 will be around the 400 mark.

To change this, action is needed across the three Es – education, engineering and enforcement.

A number of education initiatives have been put in place that target specific groups such as older drivers, novice drivers, drink-drivers and speeding drivers.

But there is a glaring gap - everyday drivers. Many drivers can hold their licence for more than 60 years without brushing up on the road code or road safety.

The Graduated Driver Licence System requires novice drivers to undergo supervised driver education, restricted driving and driver testing for a period of up to two years before the full driver licence is achieved. Once a driver gets their full licence they aren’t required to do any further tests of their competencies or knowledge of the road code until they’re 80. Once they’re 80, drivers are required to sit their Older Driver Test (ODT) every two years.

Up to Scratch

Up to Scratch is an innovative, cost-effective new education initiative targeted at drivers who receive no other driver education, road rule or road safety updates from the time they get their licence until they turn 80.

Up to Scratch is a voluntary test that makes it easy to get ‘up to scratch’ on the road rules and road safety.

The Up to Scratch test contains ten questions. Six questions will relate to the road code and four questions will focus on road safety risk issues such as speeding, drink driving, restraints, and associated enforcement regimes. Questions will be true or false or multi-choice.

Participants scratch a panel for the answers they think are right. The test will include background safety and road code information, and places to go to find the answers such as the road code and the LTSA website.

The scratch panel reveals whether the participant has got the question right or wrong. The education benefit is immediate as people find out just how up to scratch their knowledge of the road rules and road safety is.

Up to Scratch will be distributed thorugh existing communications channels such as Motor Vehicle and Driver Licence Registers and the Warrant of Fitness regime.

It is voluntary, easily accessible and doesn’t cost anything to take part.

The education initiative will ensure most New Zealand road users are reached with driver education and road safety messages at least once a year. Analysis suggests most people will receive between four and six opportunities to participate each year.

Subsets of road users, e.g. motorcyclists, trailer & caravan owners, can be targeted with specific test questions. Changes to road rules can be reinforced using targeted test questions coinciding with other policy communications.

Incentives of prize draws of motoring and safe driving related products have been built into the initiative to encourage people to take part.

If people get nine or more questions right – they can enter into a draw for major prizes. If they get less than nine questions right they can enter a draw for minor prizes.

Supporting education initiatives

Direct communication to speeding drivers

The Up to Scratch initiative will be supported by direct communication of personalised road safety education information to speeding drivers who receive at least 50 demerit points a year. This will cover approximately 80,000 drivers.

The objective is to bring home the potential impact of their speeding offence –leaving the driver with the message ‘this could happen to me’.

Safe driving in the workplace

The Safe Driving is Good Business programme is jointly promoted by the LTSA, ACC and Occupational Safety & Health, to provide more specific occupational driving information related to speeding and drink-driving.

The programme will be extended to include an education programme including video and supporting material highlighting the risks and physics of speeding, and addressing the common attitudes and behaviour of speeding drivers.

The speeding education programme will be promoted directly to employers, with encouragement to expose staff to the programme. Promotion will include advertising in employer-related trade publications and direct marketing.

Frequently Asked Questions

When do the new education initiatives start?

People will start receiving the Up to Scratch test by 31 March 2004.

The direct communication to speeding drivers will be in place by 31 March 2004.

The extension of Safe Driving is Good Business will be launched by 30 June 2004.

How many people will be targeted by Up to Scratch?

There will be approximately 10.7 million opportunities to take part in Up to Scratch. This is expected to reach approximately 2.7 million drivers.

Drivers can potentially be reached between one and 14 times a year, depending on their licence status and their vehicle ownership.

How do people get copies of Up to Scratch?

People will receive Up to Scratch when they get their Motor Vehicle Registration forms and renew their drivers licence. Steps are also being taken to provide Up to Scratch to drivers when their car passes the Warrant of Fitness test.

As part of the 2004 launch there will be a one off opportunity to take part right at the start of the Up to Scratch programme.

What sort of questions will be asked?

The questions will be road code and road safety related. Several sample questions are listed below.

What is the blood alcohol limit for a driver under 20 years of age? a) 30mg per 100ml b) 50mg/100ml c) 80mg/100ml

Each year how many serious injuries and deaths are caused by drivers not giving way at intersections? a) 100 b) 300 c) 400

You are coming up to a crash site recognisable by the ACCIDENT road sign. What is the maximum speed you can travel through this site? a) 20km/h b) 30km/h c) 40km/h

What is the fine if you’re caught not wearing a safety belt? a) $80 b) $120 c) $150

How will Up to Scratch be evaluated?

A comprehensive programme of monitoring and evaluation will enable ongoing analysis of the programme effectiveness. Evaluation will focus on distribution levels, participation rates, and the influence the programme has on road safety knowledge and driver behaviour.

Monitoring of distribution and participation will take place on a quarterly basis and market research surveys will be conducted annually to assess improvements in road safety knowledge and driver behaviour.

Who are the sponsors of Up to Scratch?

The Up to Scratch test contains an incentive to take part – in the form of safety related prizes.

Toyota New Zealand is a sponsor of the major prize - the Toyota Avensis – a five star ANCAP safety rated vehicle.

Work is underway to identify, and enter into, other sponsorship arrangements to support the provision of safety related prizes when Up to Scratch goes live in late March 2004.

How much are the new education initiatives costing?

The budgeted cost of the education initiatives is $2.68million in 2003/2004, $3.89 million in 2004/05 and $4.3million in 2005/06. What other education related initiatives are currently in place?

Road safety and road rule related education programmes are in place across the country.

These range from individual community based education programmes, to Police road safety education, programmes for older and novice drivers, drink driving and speed related advertising, safety belt and intersection advertising.

Some specific examples of education activity include the competency based training and assessment pilot – a trial of a different approach to driver licensing, “Practice” a driving programme for teenagers and the “Street Talk” course for restricted licence holders.

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