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Copeland asks Govt to deliver defensive driving

Media statement
For immediate release
Tuesday, 14 November 2006

Copeland asks Govt to deliver defensive driving

United Future transport safety spokesman Gordon Copeland challenged the government in the House today to act on the appalling number of accidents and fatalities of young New Zealand drivers.

Mr Copeland repeated calls for mandatory 'practical' defensive driving courses for learner drivers - a call supported by the Automobile Association, the Insurance Council, ACC and the Police.

Mr Copeland challenged the Transport Safety Minister to explain why the government has "... so far failed to take decisive action to tackle young driver crashes in spite of appalling statistics."

He also asked the Minister whether the Government would consider introducing mandatory defensive driving courses for learner drivers.

"I am pleased by the Minister's reply, that this was being taken into account by the Government, and urge swift action to help further reduce the road toll."

In the past year, young drivers were involved in 142 fatal road crashes, in which 18-24 year olds were at fault 83% of the time. There were also around 5000 injurious crashes involving 15-24 years olds, at a social cost of close to $1 billion.

"We need to counter this with practical driving classes that allow new drivers to understand first-hand the realities and risks of driving on the road," says Mr Copeland.

"Hopefully this will also go some way to combating the 'bullet-proof' attitude that we all know is an inherent characteristic of many teenagers.

"Inexperience on the roads, combined with inflated self-confidence is a dangerous cocktail. We only need to look at some of the horrific crashes of late to see the terrible consequences.

ENDS

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