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Driver Licensing Regime Working

Three months into the Government's new road safety initiatives including the driver licensing regime, we're already seeing huge road safety benefits, Transport Minister Maurice Williamson said today.

"Although it's early days, we've seen the three month road toll since the regime began for May, June and July stand at 102, compared to 120 for the same period last year. This is a decrease of 15 percent, bearing in mind last year's road toll was a record low."

A number of aspects of the new system have created a safer driving environment, said Mr Williamson.

"We've had 2841 vehicles impounded by police at the roadside, from disqualified and unlicensed drivers, a group who historically cause 10 percent of road deaths.

"We've also seen 1248 licences suspended from heavily drunk and speeding drivers in three months. Police historically expect to issue about 2700 notices for offences that now warrent suspension in a three month period, so the law change appears to be is proving to be a major deterrent."

Mr Williamson said the new requirement for drivers to have their eyes tested every 10 years was also a major safety benefit.

"Up until the end of July almost 8500 drivers were wearing glasses who didn't before, a figure which must make our roads safer."

Under the old system, eyes were checked when a driver first received a licence and then not until they were 71.

Mr Williamson said the whole aim of the new system was to increase safety and reduce the road toll and, although it was early days, it was great to already see so many benefits.

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