Road safety legislation passes

  • Steven Joyce
Transport

Transport legislation designed to improve the safety of young drivers and crack down on high-risk drivers has today passed in Parliament.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce says the legislation is a major step forward in the government's efforts to improve road safety and, ultimately, bring down the road toll.

The Land Transport (Road Safety and other Matters) Amendment Bill which includes the following provisions should be fully implemented by mid-2012.

  • Raising the minimum driving age from 15 to 16 on 1 August this year.
  • Providing for the NZ Transport Agency to strengthen the restricted licence test.
  • Allowing police to take alcohol readings for research purposes from all drivers involved in fatal or serious injury crashes who have a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) between .05 and .08 (50 milligramsand 80milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood or 250 and 400 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath.
  • Lowering the youth drink drive limit for drivers under 20 years of age from BAC 0.03 (30 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood or 150 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath) to BAC zero.
  • Repeat drink drive offenders will be subject to a BAC zero limit for 3 years after they receive their licence back.
  • Provide for infringement offences and the associated infringement penalties for the breach of the zero drink drive limits.
  • Allowing Courts the option to require repeat or serious drink drive offenders to use alcohol interlocks, after a mandated 90-day disqualification. Interlocks must be used for at least 12 months, and can only be removed where the offender shows a violation-free period of 6 months (reducing to 3 months if an approved alcohol assessment is also completed) and offenders will be subject to a zero BAC limit for the 3 years after the removal of their interlock.
  • Doubling the maximum sentence for dangerous driving causing death from five years to ten years.

Mr Joyce says the legislation targets the core of problem drivers which cause one in three deaths on our roads.

“The Government is sending a serious warning to high-risk drivers by giving judges the power to impose a maximum sentence of ten years for dangerous driving causing death, double the previous penalty.”

“This legislation means that the courts can require repeat alcohol offenders to complete an interlock programme – this technology physically prevents them from driving their cars.

“Offenders will also be subject to a zero BAC limit licence for three years following a period of disqualification.”

“Raising the licence age from 15 to 16, and measures to enable the restricted driving test to be strengthened reflect the disproportionate number of fatal and serious crashes involving young people.”

The Bill will also allow Police to take alcohol readings for research purposes from drivers involved in fatal or serious injury crashes who have a blood alcohol concentration between 50 and 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.

Following Royal Assent, the driving age change will come into force on 1 August this year. Transitional arrangements will be in place for drivers aged under 16 when the driving age increases. Other provisions will come into force over the next 12 months.

Further information on the Road Safety and Other Matters Amendment Bill is available at www.transport.govt.nz

Further information on the transitional arrangements in place for drivers aged under 16 when the driving age increases is available at www.nzta.govt.nz.

They will be allowed to continue to hold their licence and once they turn 16 will be able to apply to the NZTA for an exemption to progress to the next licensing stage provided they have held their licence for the required minimum period, and have not committed any traffic offences.

 

 

 

Implementation Dates for Road Safety and Other Matters Amendment Bill

Provision

Implementation timeline

Raising the minimum driving  age from 15 to 16.

1 August 2011

Strengthening of the restricted licence test.

Will be implemented from February 2012. Changes to allow this will come into force from 1 August 2011

Lowering the drink drive limit for drivers under 20 from 30 milligrams alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood to zero.

Will come into force 90 days after the date of Royal assent.

Lowering the drink drive limit to zero for repeat drink drive offenders.

Will come into force via an order in council. This is likely to be in 2012.

Increasing penalties for dangerous driving-type offences causing death.

Will come into force on the day after Royal assent.

Allow Police to take and provide to the Secretary for Transport for research purposes alcohol readings from all drivers involved in fatal or serious injury crashes who have a blood alcohol concentration between 0.05 and 0.08 (or equivalent breath alcohol concentration).

Will come into force 90 days after the date of Royal assent.

Develop an alcohol interlock programme for repeat drink drivers

Will come into force via an order in council. Additional work is also needed to support implementation. It is likely to come into force in 2012.

Ban the use or possession, in a motor vehicle, of equipment that interferes with speed measuring devices (‘radar jammers’).

Will come into force on the day after Royal assent.