(re-posted in light of today's news.)
1/ Statistics for young drivers are improving:
In 1986 15 and 16 year-old drivers were involved in 32 fatal accidents and 884 serious crashes.
In 2006 15 and 16 year-old drivers were involved in 16 fatal accidents and 122 serious crashes.
In 1986 15-19 year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes numbered 167 and made up 16.9 % of all crashes.
In 2006 15-19 year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes numbered 64 and made up 11.7 % of all crashes.
2/ The law is being changed by people who enjoyed a privilege they are now seeking to remove, despite their generation’s performance having been demonstrably worse.
3/ Arguments that New Zealand is out of step with the rest of the world are irrelevant;
- We have been out of step for decades yet only now it has become a problem?
- If international standards are an important consideration then why aren’t we raising the age to 18, common in most European countries?
4/ Putting the driving age up does not send the right message to young people. If we want to encourage a culture of personal responsibility and independence this move is counter-productive.
5/ Often it is parents who dictate when their child will learn to drive. They are a better judge than the government.
6/ New Zealand’s road deaths per 100,000 in 2005 were 9.9, just above the OECD median of 9.5. Many OECD countries have a higher road toll rates and higher legal driving ages;
Age deaths per 100,000 in 2005
Poland 17 14.3
Belgium 18 10.4
Portugal 18 11.8
Spain 18 10.2
Czech Republic 17 12.6
Slovakia 18 11.1 (2004)
South Korea 18 10.2
Greece 17 15.0
Hungary 18 12.7
USA 16 14.7
7/ Across Australia the minimum driving ages are;
Minimum driving age:
New South Wales - 17 yrs 7.5
South Australia - 16 yrs 9.6
Victoria - 18 yrs 6.9
Queensland - 17 yrs 8.3
Northern Territory - 17 yrs 27.0
Tasmania - 17 yrs 10.5
Western Australia - 17 yrs 8.1
Obviously there are a range of ages all above 15 with a broad range of results
8/ If this move is successful, when will the calls to raise it higher begin?
9/ The Labour government liberalised rules pertaining to aged driver licensing by removing compulsory tests for 80+ drivers despite their over-representation in road crashes. It would be inconsistent to tighten rules relating to young drivers under the same premise.
10/ Responsible 15 and 16 year-olds will be penalised because of irresponsible 15 and 16 year-olds
11/ Irresponsible 15 and 16 year-olds already break the law by carrying passengers they are not licensed to carry or by travelling with drivers not licensed to carry them. If the driving age is raised they are likely to continue to ignore the law. The result will be more drivers on the road who have no knowledge of road rules or who have not experienced any driver training.
12/ Experience and driver education are vital. The first cannot be gained by delaying the starting age. A lot could be achieved with more of the second.