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New statistics show impact of high-risk drivers

New statistics show impact of high-risk drivers

Transport Minister Steven Joyce has released a report showing a core of problem drivers causes one in three deaths on our roads.

The Ministry of Transport report shows that between 2005 and 2009, 642 people were killed in crashes where high-risk drivers were at fault.

The report defines high-risk drivers as unlicensed and disqualified drivers, those with previous speed and alcohol offences, or those who engage in high-risk behaviour (eg driving with a high blood alcohol content, evading enforcement or illegal street racing) at the time of the crash.

Mr Joyce says the information shows there is a segment of drivers whose high-risk actions cause a very significant number of road deaths and injuries.

“The government is taking steps to crack down on these drivers to ensure their reckless actions don’t put the rest of us at risk.”

The Minister has also released an addendum to the report which shows that when at-fault young drivers who are not already classified as high risk are added to high-risk drivers, together they comprise 53 percent of at-fault drivers in fatal crashes and 48 percent of at-fault drivers in fatal and serious injury crashes.

“These two groups together cause about half of the deaths and serious injuries on our roads.”

The government is progressing actions that will help reduce the impact of high-risk drivers and young drivers, as part of its Safer Journeys road safety strategy. These include:

A zero drink drive limit for young drivers and repeat drink drivers
Raising the driving age
Tougher licensing tests for new drivers
Alcohol interlocks for repeat drink drivers
Doubling the prison penalties for dangerous drivers who cause death.

Mr Joyce says the figures in the report show that by targeting these two groups we can help reduce the deaths and injuries on our roads.

The Ministry of Transport is also investigating the potential for vehicle power restrictions for young drivers. In addition, last year the government improved Police powers to tackle illegal street racing and the anti-social use of vehicles.

The report and further information on Safer Journeys: New Zealand’s Road Safety Strategy 2010-2020 is available at


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